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Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach

Author

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  • Carson, Richard T.
  • Koundouri, Phoebe
  • Nauges, Céline

Abstract

A major environmental tragedy of modern times is the widespread arsenic contamination of shallow drinking water wells in Bangladesh. High levels of arsenic present in many wells went unrecognized for years. Now large numbers of people show a range of symptoms associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Most of the economics literature follows an epidemiological approach effectively monetizing a dose response relation. We take a different approach, given widespread exposure, and examine impacts on household labor supply. We find significant effects broadly consistent with available epidemiological information in terms of the percent of the population impacted and which demographic groups are most impacted. The nature of the arsenic contamination provides a high quality statistical instrument that identifies a labor supply reduction of over 8%. Particular attention is paid to large substitution effects involving within household labor supply as this is the primary means of insurance among poor households in developing countries.
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(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Carson, Richard T. & Koundouri, Phoebe & Nauges, Céline, 2009. "Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach," TSE Working Papers 09-106, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:22206
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2004. "Consumption insurance and vulnerability to poverty : a synthesis of the evidence from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Russia," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 29141, The World Bank.
    2. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
    3. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
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    5. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Estimating the Intrahousehold Incidence of Illness: Child Health and Gender-Inequality in the Allocation of Time," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 969-980, November.
    6. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Hassan, Md Nazmul, 1990. "Productivity, Health, and Inequality in the Intrahousehold Distribution of Food in Low-Income Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1139-1156, December.
    7. Zivin, Joshua Graff & Thirumurthy, Harsha & Goldstein, Markus, 2009. "AIDS treatment and intrahousehold resource allocation: Children's nutrition and schooling in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 1008-1015, August.
    8. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2003. "Consumption insurance and vulnerability to poverty," FCND briefs 155, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Giovanna d’Adda & Markus Goldstein & Joshua Zivin & Mabel Nangami & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2009. "ARV Treatment and Time Allocation to Household Tasks: Evidence from Kenya," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 21(1), pages 180-208.
    10. Madajewicz, Malgosia & Pfaff, Alexander & van Geen, Alexander & Graziano, Joseph & Hussein, Iftikhar & Momotaj, Hasina & Sylvi, Roksana & Ahsan, Habibul, 2007. "Can information alone change behavior? Response to arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 731-754, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Krause, Annabelle & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2015. "Arsenic Contamination of Drinking Water and Mental Health," CEPR Discussion Papers 10978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Stefano Bosi & David Desmarchelier & Lionel Ragot, 2015. "Pollution effects on labor supply and growth," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 11(4), pages 371-388, December.
    3. repec:spr:izalbr:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40172-017-0055-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
    5. Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2015. "The effect of pollution on labor supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Mexico City," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 68-79.
    6. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2012. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3652-3673, December.
    7. Stefano Bosi & David Desmarchelier, 2016. "Pollution and infectious diseases," Working Papers 2016.22, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    8. Cozzi, Guido & Galli, Silvia & Mantovan, Noemi, 2017. "Will a Shrink Make you Richer? Gender Differences in the Effects of Psychotherapy on Labour Efficiency," MPRA Paper 81597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Tom Chang & Joshua Graff Zivin & Tal Gross & Matthew Neidell, 2016. "Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 141-169, August.
    10. Stefano Bosi & David Desmarchelier & Lionel Ragot, 2015. "Preferences and pollution cycles," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-36, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    11. Marion Drut & Aurélie Mahieu, 2015. "Correcting agglomeration economies: How air pollution matters," ERSA conference papers ersa15p507, European Regional Science Association.
    12. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2016. "Health shocks and well-being," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 59(1), pages 155-164, March.
    13. Marion Drut & Aurélie Mahieux, 2014. "Correcting agglomeration economies: How air pollution matters," Working Papers hal-01007019, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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