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Sanitation, Disease Externalities, and Anemia: Evidence From Nepal

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  • Diane Coffey
  • Michael Geruso
  • Dean Spears

Abstract

Anemia impairs physical and cognitive development in children and reduces human capital accumulation. The prior economics literature has focused on the role of inadequate nutrition in causing anemia. This paper is the first to show that sanitation, a public good, significantly contributes to preventing anemia. We identify effects by exploiting rapid and differential improvement in sanitation across regions of Nepal between 2006 and 2011. Within regions over time, cohorts of children exposed to better community sanitation developed higher hemoglobin levels. Our results highlight a previously undocumented externality of open defecation, which is today practiced by over a billion people worldwide.

Suggested Citation

  • Diane Coffey & Michael Geruso & Dean Spears, 2016. "Sanitation, Disease Externalities, and Anemia: Evidence From Nepal," NBER Working Papers 22940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22940
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    Cited by:

    1. Ray, Rita & Datta, Rajlakshmi, 2017. "Do separate female toilets in primary and upper primary schools improve female enrollment? A case study from India," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 263-273.
    2. Spears, Dean, 2020. "Exposure to open defecation can account for the Indian enigma of child height," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    3. 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.
    4. Ray, Rita, 2020. "Mother’s autonomy and child anemia: A case study from India," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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