Religion and Sanitation Practices
28 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2019
Date Written: January 1, 2019
Infant mortality among Hindus is higher than among Muslims in India, and religious diﬀerences in sanitation practices have been cited as a contributing factor. To explore whether religion itself is associated with diﬀerences in sanitation practices, we com-pare sanitation practices of Hindus and Muslims living in the same locations using three nationally-representative data sets from India. Across all three data sets, the un-conditional religion-speciﬁc gap in latrine ownership and latrine use declines by approximately two-thirds when conditioning on location characteristics or including location ﬁxed eﬀects. Further, we do not ﬁnd evidence of religion-speciﬁc diﬀerences in other sanitation practices, such as handwashing or observed fecal material near homes. We conclude that household sanitation practices vary substantially across areas of India, but that religion itself has less direct inﬂuence when considering diﬀerences between Hindus and Muslims within the same location.
Keywords: sanitation, urbanization, religion, culture
JEL Classification: I12, O15, Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation