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Toxic roads: Unearthing hazardous waste dumping

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  • Caterina Gennaioli

    () (School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London.)

  • Gaia Narciso

    () (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)

Abstract

Illegal disposal of toxic waste has become an issue of concern in both developing and developed countries. Recycling hazardous waste entails very high costs, which might give strong incentives to dispose toxic material in an illegal way. This paper adopts an innovative strategy to identify where toxic waste might have been illicitly dumped. The strategy relies on a crucial premise: road constructions provide an ideal setting in which the burial of hazardous waste may take place. Guided by the medical literature, we investigate the health outcomes of individuals living along recently constructed roads in Ethiopia. We construct a unique dataset, which includes the extensive Demographic and Health Survey, together with georeferenced data on roads, villages and economic development, covering a 10-year period. We find that an additional road within a 5 kilometres radius is associated with an increase in infant mortality by 3 percentage points. Moreover, we provide evidence that young children living near a recently built road show a lower level of haemoglobin and are more likely to suffer from severe anaemia. A series of robustness checks confirms the above findings and excludes other potential confounding factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Caterina Gennaioli & Gaia Narciso, 2017. "Toxic roads: Unearthing hazardous waste dumping," Trinity Economics Papers tep1817, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:tep1817
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    File URL: https://www.tcd.ie/Economics/TEP/2017/TEP1817.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefania Lovo & Samantha Rawlings, 2021. "Garbage in, garbage out: the impact of e-waste dumping sites on early child health," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2021-07, Department of Economics, Reading University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hazardous Waste; Health; Infant Mortality; Ethiopia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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