IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh A Household Labor Market Approach

  • Richard T. Carson
  • Phoebe Koundouri
  • NAUGES Céline

A major environmental tragedy of modern times is the widespread arsenic contamination of shallow drinking water wells in rural Bangladesh which went unrecognized for years. Large numbers of people are now starting to show a range of symptoms long associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Rural families in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, face financial risks from major illness both from the cost of medical care and from the loss of income associated with reduced labor supply and productivity. Because of the lack of comprehensive government assistance programs and formal insurance markets, most of these households have to rely on private, informal, insurance mechanisms. For the poor these typically take place at the household level. While arsenic-related health problems in Bangladesh have long received considerable attention (e.g., Smith, Lingas, and Rahman 2000), implications for the labor supply have not been examined. In this article, we look at the impacts of arsenic contamination on both the overall level of hours worked and the distribution of these hours within households. Using a large sample of rural households matched to arsenic exposure, we find (i) overall household labor supply is 8% smaller due to arsenic exposure and (ii) intra-household reallocation of work between males and females is used to self-insure against the risk induced by arsenic exposure.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by LERNA, University of Toulouse in its series LERNA Working Papers with number 09.25.301.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ler:wpaper:09.25.301
Contact details of provider: Postal: manufacture des Tabacs, 21 allée de brienne, 31200 Toulouse
Phone: (+33) 5 61 12 86 23
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Harsha Thirumurthy & Markus Goldstein, 2006. "AIDS Treatment and Intrahousehold Resource Allocations: Children's Nutrition and Schooling in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 12689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," NBER Working Papers 6035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Are the poor less well-insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1863, The World Bank.
  4. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
  5. Giovanna d’Adda & Markus Goldstein & Joshua Zivin & Mabel Nangami & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2009. "ARV Treatment and Time Allocation to Household Tasks: Evidence from Kenya," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 21(1), pages 180-208.
  6. Pitt, Mark M. & Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Hassan, Md. Nazmul, 1989. "Productivity, Health and Inequality in the Intrahousehold Distribution of Food in Low-Income Countries," Bulletins 7480, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  7. Madajewicz, Malgosia & Pfaff, Alexander & van Geen, Alexander & Graziano, Joseph & Hussein, Iftikhar & Momotaj, Hasina & Sylvi, Roksana & Ahsan, Habibul, 2007. "Can information alone change behavior? Response to arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 731-754, November.
  8. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2004. "Consumption insurance and vulnerability to poverty : a synthesis of the evidence from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Russia," Social Protection Discussion Papers 29141, The World Bank.
  9. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Estimating the Intrahousehold Incidence of Illness: Child Health and Gender-Inequality in the Allocation of Time," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 969-80, November.
  10. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2003. "Consumption insurance and vulnerability to poverty," FCND discussion papers 155, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ler:wpaper:09.25.301. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maxime MARTY)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.