Poisoning the mind : arsenic contamination and cognitive achievement of children
Bangladesh has experienced the largest mass poisoning of a population in history owing to contamination of groundwater with naturally occurring inorganic arsenic. Continuous drinking of such metal-contaminated water is highly cancerous; prolonged drinking of such water risks developing diseases in a span of just 5-10 years. Arsenicosis-intake of arsenic-contaminated drinking water-has implications for children's cognitive and psychological development. This study examines the effect of arsenicosis at school and at home on cognitive achievement of children in rural Bangladesh using recent nationally representative school survey data on students. Information on arsenic poisoning of the primary source of drinking water-tube wells-is used to ascertain arsenic exposure. The findings show an unambiguously negative and statistically significant correlation between mathematics score and arsenicosis at home, net of exposure at school. Split-sample analysis reveals that the effect is only specific to boys; for girls, the effect is negative but insignificant. Similar correlations are found for cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes such as subjective well-being, that is, a self-reported measure of life satisfaction (also a direct proxy for health status) of students and their performance in primary-standard mathematics. These correlations remain robust to controlling for school-level exposure.
|Date of creation:||01 Feb 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4510. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.