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Trading-off health risk and latency: Evidence from water pollution in Bangladesh


  • David Maddison
  • Eleanor Field
  • Zubaida Choudhury

    () (Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge)

  • Unai Pascual

    () (Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge)


The Ganges Delta of Bangladesh faces a major environmental and development problem from arsenic groundwater contamination. Here we address the rural population’s health preferences and estimate how much a given risk of arsenicosis would have to be postponed to make that risk acceptable. We also derive implicit rates of time preference associated with this health hazard based on an experimental field study in Bangladesh. Results suggest that households exposed to arsenic contaminated water do trade-off risk against latency of developing arsenicosis. The results can also be interpreted as if households face a time-varying (hyperbolic) pure rate of time preference.

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  • David Maddison & Eleanor Field & Zubaida Choudhury & Unai Pascual, 2009. "Trading-off health risk and latency: Evidence from water pollution in Bangladesh," Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers 45.2009, University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics, revised 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:lnd:wpaper:452009

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    Time varying discounting; Water pollution; Arsenic contamination; Bangladesh;

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