NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers and Publications by Sonia R. Bhalotra

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

March 2017Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries
with Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Grant Miller, Alfonso Miranda, Atheendar S. Venkataramani: w23239
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 sanitati...
July 2013Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India
with Guilhem Cassan, Irma Clots-Figueras, Lakshmi Iyer: w19173
This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. To allow for politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or characteristics that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.

Published:

March 2013Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India
with Irma Clots-Figueras, Guilhem Cassan, Lakshmi Iyer
in Economics of Religion and Culture, Daniel Hungerman and Daniel L. Chen, editors

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