Research / BFI Working PaperApr 01, 2017

Sanitation and Education

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.

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