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Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality

Author

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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.
    2. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    3. Bhalotra, Sonia & Soest, Arthur van, 2008. "Birth-spacing, fertility and neonatal mortality in India: Dynamics, frailty, and fecundity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 143(2), pages 274-290, April.
    4. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    5. Bhalotra, Sonia & Valente, Christine & van Soest, Arthur, 2010. "The puzzle of Muslim advantage in child survival in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 191-204, March.
    6. Marcella Alsan & Claudia Goldin, 2015. "Watersheds in Child Mortality: The Role of Effective Water and Sewerage Infrastructure, 1880 to 1920," NBER Working Papers 21263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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.
    8. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 83-120, February.
    9. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
    10. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
    11. David Cutler & Grant Miller, 2005. "The role of public health improvements in health advances: The twentieth-century United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(1), pages 1-22, February.
    12. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    13. Watson, Tara, 2006. "Public health investments and the infant mortality gap: Evidence from federal sanitation interventions on U.S. Indian reservations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1537-1560, September.
    14. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:269-282 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. repec:eee:deveco:v:135:y:2018:i:c:p:285-303 is not listed on IDEAS
    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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. 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.
    9. Lauren Hoehn Velasco, 2016. "Explaining Declines in US Rural Mortality, 1910-1933: The Role of County Health Departments," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 919, Boston College Department of Economics.
    10. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Pal, Sarmistha, 2018. "Touch Thee Not: Group Conflict, Caste Power, and Untouchability in Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 12016, Institute for the Study of Labor (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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