Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality
- American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
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.
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