Toilets Can Work: Short and Medium Run Health Impacts of Addressing Complementarities and Externalities in Water and Sanitation

41 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Michael Greenstone

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; Becker Friedman Institute for Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Raymond P. Guiteras

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Thomas Clasen

Emory University - Rollins School of Public Health

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Date Written: August 23, 2015

Abstract

Poor water quality and sanitation are leading causes of mortality and disease in developing countries. However, interventions providing toilets in rural areas have not substantially improved health, likely because of incomplete coverage and low usage. This paper estimates the impact of an integrated water and sanitation improvement program in rural India that provided household-level water connections, latrines, and bathing facilities to all households in approximately 100 villages. The estimates suggest that the intervention was effective, reducing treated diarrhea episodes by 30-50%. These results are evident in the short term and persist for 5 years or more. The annual cost is approximately US $60 per household.

Keywords: water quality, mortality, India

Suggested Citation

Duflo, Esther and Greenstone, Michael and Guiteras, Raymond P. and Clasen, Thomas, Toilets Can Work: Short and Medium Run Health Impacts of Addressing Complementarities and Externalities in Water and Sanitation (August 23, 2015). Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics Working Paper No. 2654864. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2654864 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2654864

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

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United States

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

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

Michael Greenstone (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Becker Friedman Institute for Economics ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Raymond P. Guiteras

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Thomas Clasen

Emory University - Rollins School of Public Health ( email )

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