SSIREP Research Workshop: Michael DiNardi (Assistant Professor, Department of Economics)

Discussant: Kristin Johnson– Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Public Health Improvements and Childhood Mortality: Does Timing Matter?

  • Date: January 29, 2021
  • Time: 3:00 PM EST
  • Location: This event was on Zoom and has concluded.


Several seminal papers have shown that water and sanitation programs have an important effect on childhood mortality. All of these studies, however, estimate the contemporaneous effect of these projects on mortality rate, without considering, explicitly, effects derived from exposure in previous periods, in particular, from prenatal exposure. We find that the length and, particularly, the timing of the exposure to these programs matter significantly. In particular, children who are exposed to filtrated water since they were in utero exhibit significantly larger benefits. We also find the effects increase with the age of death. This study contributes to understanding the relationship between diarrheal diseases and childhood mortality and provides evidence that water and sanitation programs are more cost-effective in the long-term than previously believed and that diarrheal diseases affect children before they are born.