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Village sanitation externalities and children's human capital: Evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey Hammer

    (Princeton University)

  • Dean Spears

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Open defecation is exceptionally widespread in India, a country which also suffers some of the world's worst rates of child stunting. We study a randomized controlled trial of a village-level sanitation program, implemented in one district by the government of Maharashtra. We find that the program caused an average increase in child height that was large but plausible given other estimates in the literature. In evidence of sanitation externalities, this effect is found even on children in households that did not adopt latrines. Unusually, we also have comparable data from other districts where the government planned but ultimately did not conduct an experiment, allowing a consideration of the importance of the population chosen to be eligible for experimentation. We demonstrate techniques that respond to a recent critique of the small samples of clusters in many cluster-randomized field experiments in development economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Hammer & Dean Spears, 2013. "Village sanitation externalities and children's human capital: Evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Working Papers 1443, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:cheawb:february2013
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    File URL: https://drive.google.com/a/princeton.edu/file/d/0BwjFN4HbBrDBaU1acU1ha1BqMUk/view
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    Cited by:

    1. Dean Spears, 2012. "How much international variation in child height can sanitation explain?," Working Papers 1436, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    2. Augsburg, Britta & Rodríguez-Lesmes, Paul Andrés, 2018. "Sanitation and child health in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 22-39.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sanitation; sewage; waste; child growth; child height; India;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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