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Growing taller among toilets : evidence from changes in sanitation and child height in Cambodia, 2005-2010

Child height is an important indicator of human capital and human development, in large part because early life health and net nutrition shape both height and adult economic productivity and health. Recent medical evidence suggests that exposure to poor sanitation ( and specically to widespread open defecation) can pose a critical threat to child growth. Cambodia saw a signicant decline in open defecation and increase in child height between its 2005 and 2010 demographic and health surveys. This paper identies an efect of open defecation on child height from within-province changes in the local area open defecation to which children are exposed. In particular, it is local open defecation that matters most for child height, underscoring the negative externalities that make reducing open defecation a policy priority where it is common. Our estimate is quantitatively robust, and corroborated by model averaging techniques. Decomposition analysis, in the spirit of Blinder-Oaxaca, further suggests that reduction in children's exposure to open defecation can statistically account for much or all of the increase in average child height between 2005 and 2010. [authors abstract]

TitleGrowing taller among toilets : evidence from changes in sanitation and child height in Cambodia, 2005-2010
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKov , P., Smets , S., Spears, D., Vyas, S.
Pagination26 p.; 4 tab.; 1 fig.
Date Published2013-06-30
PublisherS.n.
Place PublishedS.l.
Keywordsaccess to sanitation, cambodia, child health, open defecation
Abstract

Child height is an important indicator of human capital and human development, in large part because early life health and net nutrition shape both height and adult economic productivity and health. Recent medical evidence suggests that exposure to poor sanitation ( and specically to widespread open defecation) can pose a critical threat to child growth. Cambodia saw a signicant decline in open defecation and increase in child height between its 2005 and 2010 demographic and health surveys. This paper identies an efect of open defecation on child height from within-province changes in the local area open defecation to which children are exposed. In particular, it is local open defecation that matters most for child height, underscoring the negative externalities that make reducing open defecation a policy priority where it is common. Our estimate is quantitatively robust, and corroborated by model averaging techniques. Decomposition analysis, in the spirit of Blinder-Oaxaca, further suggests that reduction in children's exposure to open defecation can statistically account for much or all of the increase in average child height between 2005 and 2010. [authors abstract]

NotesWith references on p. 18 - 21
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