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

Author

Listed:
  • Hammer, Jeffrey
  • Spears, Dean

Abstract

Open defecation is exceptionally widespread in India, a county with puzzlingly high rates of child stunting. This paper reports a randomized controlled trial of a village-level sanitation program, implemented in one district by the government of Maharashtra. The program caused a large but plausible average increase in child height (95 percent confidence interval [0.04 to 0.61] standard deviations), which is an important marker of human capital. The results demonstrate sanitation externalities: an effect even on children in households that did not adopt latrines. Unusually, surveyors also collected data in districts where the government planned but ultimately did not conduct an experiment, permitting analysis of the importance of the set eligible for randomization.

Suggested Citation

  • Hammer, Jeffrey & Spears, Dean, 2013. "Village sanitation and children's human capital : evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6580, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6580
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    File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/08/20/000158349_20130820090957/Rendered/PDF/WPS6580.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:pri:rpdevs:hammer_the_impact_of_recall_periods_on_reported_morbidity_and_health_seeking_behavior.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Zwane, A. P. & Zinman, J. & Van Dusen, E. & Pariente, W. & Null, C. & Miguel, E. & Kremer, Michael R. & Karlan, D. S. & Hornbeck, Richard A. & Gine, X. & Duflo, E. & Devoto, F. & Crepon, B. & Banerjee, 2011. "Being Surveyed Can Change Later Behavior and Related Parameter Estimates," Scholarly Articles 11339433, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Dean Spears & Sneha Lamba, 2016. "Effects of Early-Life Exposure to Sanitation on Childhood Cognitive Skills: Evidence from India’s Total Sanitation Campaign," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 298-327.
    4. Alix Peterson Zwane & Michael Kremer, 2007. "What Works in Fighting Diarrheal Diseases in Developing Countries? A Critical Review," CID Working Papers 140, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    5. Pritchett, Lant & Samji, Salimah & Hammer, Jeffrey S., 2012. "It's All about MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning ('e') to Crawl the Design Space," WIDER Working Paper Series 104, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Santosh Kumar & Sebastian Vollmer, 2013. "Does Access To Improved Sanitation Reduce Childhood Diarrhea In Rural India?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 410-427, April.
    7. Spears, Dean, 2012. "Height and cognitive achievement among Indian children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 210-219.
    8. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey & Sánchez-Paramo, Carolina, 2012. "The impact of recall periods on reported morbidity and health seeking behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 76-88.
    9. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    10. Watson, Tara, 2006. "Public health investments and the infant mortality gap: Evidence from federal sanitation interventions on U.S. Indian reservations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1537-1560, September.
    11. McKenzie, David, 2012. "Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 210-221.
    12. Ibragimov, Rustam & Müller, Ulrich K., 2010. "t-Statistic Based Correlation and Heterogeneity Robust Inference," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(4), pages 453-468.
    13. Tarozzi, Alessandro, 2008. "Growth reference charts and the nutritional status of Indian children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 455-468, December.
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    Citations

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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. Michael Geruso & Dean Spears, 2015. "Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality," NBER Working Papers 21184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mulmi, Prajula & Block, Steven A. & Shively, Gerald E. & Masters, William A., 2016. "Climatic conditions and child height: Sex-specific vulnerability and the protective effects of sanitation and food markets in Nepal," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 63-75.
    4. Cameron, Lisa A. & Olivia, Susan & Shah, Manisha, 2015. "Initial Conditions Matter: Social Capital and Participatory Development," IZA Discussion Papers 9563, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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.
    6. repec:pri:cheawb:spears%20--%20height%20and%20sanitation%201-17-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jeffrey S. Hammer, 2013. "Balancing Market and Government Failure in Service Delivery," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 18(Special E), pages 1-19, September.
    8. repec:pri:rpdevs:spears_height_and_sanitation is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nie, Peng & Rammohan, Anu & Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2016. "Developments in Undernutrition in Indian Children Under Five: A Decompositional Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 9893, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Patil, Sumeet R. & Arnold, Benjamin F. & Salvatore, Alicia & Briceno, Bertha & Colford, Jr., John M. & Gertler, Paul J., 2013. "A randomized, controlled study of a rural sanitation behavior change program in Madhya Pradesh, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6702, The World Bank.
    11. repec:eee:cysrev:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:263-273 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Das, Ashis & Friedman, Jed & Kandpal, Eeshani, 2014. "Does involvement of local NGOs enhance public service delivery ? cautionary evidence from a Malaria-prevention evaluation in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6931, The World Bank.
    13. Maria Laura Alzua & Amy Janel Pickering & Habiba Djebbari & Carolina Lopez & Juan Camilo Cardenas & Maria Adelaida Lopera & Nicolas Osbert & Massa Coulibaly, 2015. "Impact Evaluation of Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Rural Mali," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0191, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

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    Keywords

    Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Disease Control&Prevention; Population Policies; Hygiene Promotion and Social Marketing; Early Child and Children's Health;

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