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Can Environmental Policy Reduce Infant Mortality? Evidence from the Ganga Pollution Cases

39 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2016  

Quy-Toan Do

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Shareen Joshi

Georgetown University

Samuel Stolper

Harvard University

Date Written: August 19, 2016


In many developing countries, environmental quality remains low and policies to improve it have been inconsistently effective. This paper conducts a case study of environmental policy, focusing on an unprecedented ruling by the Supreme Court of India, which targeted industrial pollution in the Ganga River. Difference-in-difference estimations indicate that the ruling led to reductions in river pollution and one-month infant mortality. To look at the mechanisms of impact, the paper tests whether the identified health impact is fully explained by changes in pollution induced by the policy, and fails to reject that it indeed is. In so doing, the analysis also quantifies the adverse impact of water pollution on infant health and documents the persistence of such impacts in downstream communities.

Keywords: Regional Urban Development, City to City Alliances, Urban Communities, Global Environment, Urban Economic Development, Hydrology, Urban Economics, National Urban Development Policies & Strategies

Suggested Citation

Do, Quy-Toan and Joshi, Shareen and Stolper, Samuel, Can Environmental Policy Reduce Infant Mortality? Evidence from the Ganga Pollution Cases (August 19, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7799. Available at SSRN:

Quy Toan Do (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Shareen Joshi

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Samuel Stolper

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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