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Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality

74 Pages Posted: 13 May 2015 Last revised: 18 May 2017

Michael Geruso

University of Texas at Austin; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dean Spears

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

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Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

In this paper, we shed new light on a long-standing puzzle: In India, Muslim children are substantially more likely than Hindu children to survive to their first birthday, even though Indian Muslims have lower wealth, consumption, educational attainment, and access to state services. Contrary to the prior literature, we show that the observed mortality advantage accrues not to Muslim households themselves but rather to their neighbors, who are also likely to be Muslim. Investigating mechanisms, we provide a collage of evidence suggesting externalities due to poor sanitation are a channel linking the religious composition of neighborhoods to infant mortality.

Keywords: Sanitation, Infant Mortality, Open Defecation, Externalities

JEL Classification: I12, I15, H41

Suggested Citation

Geruso, Michael and Spears, Dean, Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality (January 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2605479 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2605479

Michael Geruso (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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

HOME PAGE: http://www.riceinstitute.org

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