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Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries

Sonia Bhalotra (), Diaz-Cayeros, Alberto, Grant Miller (), Alfonso Miranda () and Atheendar Venkataramani ()
Additional contact information
Diaz-Cayeros, Alberto: Stanford University
Grant Miller: Stanford University
Alfonso Miranda: CIDE, Mexico City
Atheendar Venkataramani: Massachusetts General Hospital

No 10618, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Historically, improvements in the quality of municipal drinking water made important contributions to mortality decline in wealthy countries. However, water disinfection often does not produce equivalent benefits in developing countries today. We investigate this puzzle by analyzing an abrupt, large-scale municipal water disinfection program in Mexico in 1991 that increased the share of Mexico's population receiving chlorinated water from 55% to 85% within six months. We find that on average, the program was associated with a 37 to 48% decline in diarrheal disease deaths among children (over 23,000 averted deaths per year) and was highly cost-effective (about $1,310 per life year saved). However, we also find evidence that age (degradation) of water pipes and lack of complementary sanitation infrastructure play important roles in attenuating these benefits. Countervailing behavioral responses, although present, appear to be less important.

Keywords: sanitation; clean water; chlorination; child mortality; infectious disease; diarrhea; behavioral responses; Mexico; cost-effectiveness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 H41 J11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem and nep-hea
Date: 2017-03
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Related works:
Working Paper: Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Urban water disinfection and mortality decline in developing countries (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries (2017) Downloads
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