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Water, health and wealth

Ashraf, Nava, Glaeser, Edward, Holland, Abraham and Steinberg, Bryce (2017) Water, health and wealth. NBER Working Paper Series (23807). The National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge MA.

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Identification Number: 10.3386/w23807

Abstract

Providing clean water requires maintenance, as well as the initial connections that are typically measured. Frequently, the water supply fails in the developing world, especially when users don’t pay the marginal cost of water. This paper uses the timing of frequent, unexpected water service outages in Lusaka, Zambia to identify the short-term impacts of piped water access on contagious disease, economic activity and time use. We use microdata from the primary water utility in the city on the timing and location of supply complaints to identify outages, matched to extensive administrative data across the city. Conditional on fixed effects for time and water service district within Lusaka, we find that increases in outages are associated with increased incidence of diarrheal disease, upper respiratory infections, typhoid fever and measles. We match outages to geolocated microdata on financial transactions from the largest mobile money provider in Zambia, and find that outages cause a reduction in financial transactions. Outages also increase the time that young girls spend at their chores, possibly at the expense of time they spend doing schoolwork. Imperfect infrastructure appears to burden the poor in ways that go far beyond obvious health consequences.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.nber.org/
Additional Information: © 2017 by Nava Ashraf, Edward Glaeser, Abraham Holland, and Bryce Millett Steinberg
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics > D12 - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics > D14 - Personal Finance
G - Financial Economics > G2 - Financial Institutions and Services > G21 - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O12 - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O13 - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O16 - Economic Development: Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O18 - Regional, Urban, and Rural Analyses
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q2 - Renewable Resources and Conservation > Q25 - Water
Sets: Departments > Economics
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 10:50
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2019 08:33
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/88173

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