Place and Child Health: The Interaction of Population Density and Sanitation in Developing Countries

47 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Payal Hathi

Payal Hathi

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

Sabrina Haque

World Bank

Lovey Pant

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

Diane Coffey

Princeton University

Dean Spears

University of Texas at Austin; Economics and Planning Unit, ISI-Delhi; r.i.c.e.; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 1, 2014

Abstract

A long literature in demography debates the importance of place for health. This paper assesses whether the importance of dense settlement for child mortality and child height is moderated by exposure to local sanitation behavior. Is open defecation, without a toilet or latrine, worse for infant mortality and child height where population density is greater? Is poor sanitation an important mechanism by which population density in?uences health outcomes? The paper uses newly assembled data sets to present two complementary analyses, which represent di?erent points in a trade-o? between external and internal validity. The first analysis concentrates on external validity by studying infant mortality and child height in a large, international child-level data set of 172 Demographic and Health Surveys, matched to census population density data for 1,800 subnational regions. The second analysis concentrates on internal validity by studying child height in Bangladeshi districts, with a new data set constructed with Geographic Information System techniques, and controls for ?xed e?ects at a high level of geographic resolution. The paper ?nds a statistically robust and quantitatively comparable interaction between sanitation and population density with both approaches: open defecation externalities are more important for child health outcomes where people live more closely together.

Keywords: Small Private Water Supply Providers, Water and Human Health, Town Water Supply and Sanitation, Water Supply and Sanitation Economics

Suggested Citation

Hathi, Payal and Haque, Sabrina and Pant, Lovey and Coffey, Diane and Spears, Dean, Place and Child Health: The Interaction of Population Density and Sanitation in Developing Countries (November 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7124, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2530773

Payal Hathi (Contact Author)

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

New Delhi
India

Sabrina Haque

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Lovey Pant

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

New Delhi
India

Diane Coffey

Princeton University

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Dean Spears

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Economics and Planning Unit, ISI-Delhi ( email )

7 S .J. S.
Sansanwal Marg
New Delhi, 110016
India

r.i.c.e.

New Delhi
India

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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