I explore whether the absence of school sanitation infrastructure impedes educational attainment, particularly among pubescent-age girls, using a national Indian school latrine construction initiative and administrative school-level data. School latrine construction substantially increases enrollment of pubescent-age girls, though predominately when providing sex-specific latrines. Privacy and safety appear to matter sufficiently for pubescent-age girls that only sex-specific latrines reduce gender disparities. Any latrine substantially benefits younger girls and boys, who may be particularly vulnerable to sickness from uncontained waste. Academic test scores did not increase following latrine construction, however. Estimated increases in enrollment are similar across the substantial variation in Indian district characteristics.

Read on the American Economic Journal

More Research From These Scholars

BFI Working Paper Jan 1, 2019

Religion and Sanitation Practices

Anjali Adukia, Marcella Alsan, Kim Babiarz, Jeremy D. Goldhaber-Fiebert, Lea Prince
Topics:  Health care, Economic Mobility & Poverty
BFI Working Paper Jan 31, 2020

Spillover Impacts on Education from Employment Guarantees

Anjali Adukia
Topics:  Early Childhood Education, Economic Mobility & Poverty, Employment & Wages, Health care, K-12 Education
BFI Working Paper Mar 1, 2019

Educational Investment Responses to Economic Opportunity: Evidence from Indian Road Construction

Anjali Adukia, Sam Asher, Paul Novosad
Topics:  Early Childhood Education, Economic Mobility & Poverty, Employment & Wages, Health care, K-12 Education