The Impact of Access to Clean Water on Cognitive and Physical Development: Evidence from Mexico's Programa de Agua Limpia.
Ryan Brown (University of Colorado Denver, Economics)
Monday, 11/16/2020, 12:00pm. ARCHIVED EVENT
More than three-quarters of a billion people live without a close source of clean water. While the immediate impact of clean water access on infant mortality is well documented, there is very limited evidence on the long-term effect of chlorinated water. We exploit exogenous variation created by the implementation of a major clean water reform in Mexico in 1991, Programa de Agua Limpia (PAL), to investigate the impact of exposure to chlorinated water early in life on cognitive and physical development. We estimate that experiencing a one standard deviation reduction in childhood diarrhea mortality rates from PAL throughout infancy leads to ~6% increase in cognitive assessment score and .11 standard deviation increase in height in adolescence. We also confirm that the effects on human capital persist to at least early adulthood and lead to increased hourly earnings.
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Ryan Brown's research interests span multiple fields of applied microeconomics including development economics, labor economics, health economics, economic demography, and political economy.
Ryan's work has primarily focused on applying econometric techniques to population-representative data in both developed and developing country settings, to examine how changes in the social, physical, and/or economic environment can have a persistent impact on health, preferences, and human capital accumulation. Recently, I have also begun to explore the relationship between the success of women competing for positions in entry-level positions and its subsequent impact on the gender gap at the top of the career ladder.