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Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality

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  • Michael Geruso
  • Dean Spears

Abstract

In this paper, we shed new light on a long-standing puzzle: In India, Muslim children are substantially more likely than Hindu children to survive to their first birthday, even though Indian Muslims have lower wealth, consumption, educational attainment, and access to state services. Contrary to the prior literature, we show that the observed mortality advantage accrues not to Muslim households themselves but rather to their neighbors, who are also likely to be Muslim. Investigating mechanisms, we provide a collage of evidence suggesting externalities due to poor sanitation are a channel linking the religious composition of neighborhoods to infant mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Geruso & Dean Spears, 2015. "Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality," NBER Working Papers 21184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21184
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Geruso, 2012. "Black-White Disparities in Life Expectancy: How Much Can the Standard SES Variables Explain?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(2), pages 553-574, May.
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    7. Hammer, Jeffrey & Spears, Dean, 2013. "Village sanitation and children's human capital : evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6580, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Diane Coffey & Ashwini Deshpande & Jeffrey Hammer & Dean Spears, 2019. "Local Social Inequality, Economic Inequality, and Disparities in Child Height in India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1427-1452, August.
    2. Vyas, Sangita & Kov, Phyrum & Smets, Susanna & Spears, Dean, 2016. "Disease externalities and net nutrition: Evidence from changes in sanitation and child height in Cambodia, 2005–2010," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 235-245.
    3. Stopnitzky, Yaniv, 2017. "No toilet no bride? Intrahousehold bargaining in male-skewed marriage markets in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 269-282.
    4. Calvi, Rossella & Mantovanelli, Federico G., 2018. "Long-term effects of access to health care: Medical missions in colonial India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 285-303.
    5. Deepak Saraswat, 2018. "Gender Composition of Children and Sanitation Behavior In India," Working papers 2018-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    6. Patrick Mullen & Divya Nair & Jayati Nigam & Katyayni Seth, 2016. "Urban Health Advantages and Penalties in India," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24025, The World Bank.
    7. Geruso, Michael & Spears, Dean, 2018. "Heat, Humidity, and Infant Mortality in the Developing World," IZA Discussion Papers 11717, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Derek Headey & Giordano Palloni, 2019. "Water, Sanitation, and Child Health: Evidence From Subnational Panel Data in 59 Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(2), pages 729-752, April.
    9. Makate, Marshall & Makate, Clifton, 2016. "Is poor sanitation killing more children in rural Zimbabwe? Results of propensity score matching method," MPRA Paper 72831, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Aug 2016.
    10. Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren, 2018. "Explaining declines in US rural mortality, 1910–1933: The role of county health departments," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 42-72.
    11. Lawson, Nicholas & Spears, Dean, 2016. "What doesn't kill you makes you poorer: Adult wages and early-life mortality in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-16.
    12. Gupta, Aashish & Khalid, Nazar & Desphande, Devashish & Hathi, Payal & Kapur, Avani & Srivastav, Nikhil & Vyas, Sangita & Spears, Dean & Coffey, Diane, 2019. "Changes in Open Defecation in Rural North India: 2014-2018," IZA Discussion Papers 12065, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Pal, Sarmistha, 2018. "Touch Thee Not: Group Conflict, Caste Power, and Untouchability in Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 12016, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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