Back to browse results
Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality
Authors: Michael Geruso, and Dean Spears
Source: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 10(2): 125-62; DOI: 10.1257/app.20150431
Topic(s): Infant mortality
Country: Asia
Published: APR 2018
Abstract: In this paper, we shed new light on a long-standing puzzle: in India, Muslim children are substantially more likely than Hindu children to survive to their first birthday, even though Indian Muslims have lower wealth, consumption, educational attainment, and access to state services. Contrary to the prior literature, we show that the observed mortality advantage accrues not to Muslim households themselves but rather to their neighbors, who are also likely to be Muslim. Investigating mechanisms, we provide a collage of evidence suggesting externalities due to poor sanitation are a channel linking the religious composition of neighborhoods to infant mortality.