Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Lower-Income Countries
Sonia R. Bhalotra
Atheendar S. Venkataramani
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
Historically, improvements in municipal water quality led to substantial
mortality decline in today’s wealthy countries. However, water disinfection
has not consistently produced large benefits in lower-income countries. We
study this issue by analyzing a large-scale municipal water disinfection
program in Mexico that increased water chlorination coverage in urban
areas from 58% to over 90% within 18 months. We estimate that the
program reduced childhood diarrheal disease mortality rates by 45 to 67%.
However, inadequate sanitation infrastructure and age (degradation) of
water pipes may have attenuated these benefits substantially.
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