research and policy advocacy for health & wellbeing in India.


Exploring the causes and consequences of widespread open defecation in India

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Social Inequality

Understanding how social discrimination impacts child and maternal health in rural India

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Social Inequality

Maternal Health

Exploring challenges and policy responses to adequate nutrition in motherhood to improve child health

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Maternal Health


Understanding the health consequences of climate change and air pollution, and exploring policy responses.

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Aashish’s research on solid fuel use, gender, and adult respiratory health published in Population & Environment

Population and Environment recently published Aashish’s new research titled “Where there is smoke: Solid Fuel externalities, gender, and adult respiratory health in India.” This paper studies the determination of respiratory health in India using data on lung obstruction from the WHO Survey of Global Ageing and Adult Health (WHO-SAGE 2007–2008).  The main findings of the study are:

-Smokers and members of households that use solid fuels (wood, biomass, coal, or dung) for cooking have a higher lung obstruction.

-Even if a respondent’s household uses clean fuels, their lung obstruction is higher if their neighbor’s use solid fuels.

– The influence of determinants is patterned by gender

Read more and download the paper here

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Promoting the use of simple pit latrines in rural India: Findings from Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha

For the past three years, r.i.c.e. has been collaborating with 3ie on supporting projects that are testing different strategies for promoting the use of simple pit latrines in rural India. Four teams, comprised of researchers and implementation agencies, came up with different interventions to promote latrine use in rural India, and tested them in four states. Many of these interventions specifically addressed fears surrounding pit emptying that are rooted in ideas of purity and untouchability. There were engaging demonstrations on showing how long it takes for a soak pit to fill and that decomposed sludge looks and feels just like other kinds of fertilizer. They randomly assigned the interventions to be done in some villages and not others. The findings of these studies are now out. You can read the teams’ reports here: Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Odisha.

Some important lessons we learned from these projects include: – Research shaped around informing policy is challenging, and difficult to do usefully! These projects got started at a time when the SBM became very active in villages throughout India. What this means is that reported open defecation decreased substantially in many of the study areas,...Read More..

Sangita awarded Parker Frisbie Publication Award for her paper on coal and child height.

Sangita is among the two winners of the Parker Frisbie Publications Award for this year.  The award committee had following to say about her paper:

“Her impressive paper, “The child health impacts of coal: evidence from India’s coal expansion,” examines the child health impacts associated with a large coal plant expansion in India. Using a rich collection of space-time matched data sources including India’s Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the Central Electricity Authority of India’s CO2 Baseline Database for the Indian Power Sector, and satellite data from the Multiangle Imaging SpecroRadiometer, she shows that coal plant exposure at birth predicts decreased height and that the result is likely due to air pollution. The effects, moreover, do not differ by socioeconomic background and are robust to a variety of alternative specifications and explanations. This paper highlights an important health burden to India’s young that could increase unless appropriate policy action is taken to either curtail coal plant expansions, or mitigate emissions from them, because coal plants are projected to continue to expand in India in the near future.”

Congratulations Sangita! r.i.c.e is proud of you.


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New SARI datasets!

I am so pleased to announce the release of three new SARI datasets from Maharasthra, Jharkhand, and Bihar! You can download the data here after entering your name, email address, and occupation.

Please join me in congratulating Payal, Nazar, and Nidhi on this fantastic data collection and preparation work, and also in thanking the SARI surveyors Bharati Kadam, Gunjan Kumari, Kailash Kumar, Kavita Naik, Laxmi Saini, Nisarg Jagtap, Poonam Saini, Pragati Pandurang Desai, Pramod Rajak, Rohini Hanbartii, Sachin Shere, Sanita Sutar, Sharmili Karkar, and Vivek Koli.  We are so grateful for your hard work!

The Bihar, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra samples of SARI were collected in 2018 and include questions on the following topics:

  1. religion & caste
  2. sanitation
  3. gender
  4. reservations
  5. intermarriage between people of different castes
  6. aadhaar & government benefits
  7. untouchability
  8. household assets
  9. mental health
  10. beef eating & violence against Muslims
  11. compassion for the poor
  12. knowledge about reservations & opinions on policies
  13. attitudes towards meat eating
  14. violence against spouse
  15. medical abortion
  16. experience of discrimination
  17. class identification
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Dean, Diane, Sangita and Nikhil feature in a video made to honour Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

Dean, Diane, Sangita and Nikhil feature in a video project by Chandrakant Agame at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, Lonere, as part of his work as the Literature Secretary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Anniversary Committee.

In this video celebrating the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar, they talk briefly about his work on Indian society and caste, and how that has influenced r.i.c.e’s research in understanding the health and wellbeing of children in rural India.

Watch the entire video which features several prominent scholars and activists from various fields here.


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Dean’s new book on air pollution and climate change is out!

Dean’s new book on air pollution and climate change, “Air: Pollution, Climate Change, and India’s Choice Between Policy and Pretence,” is out!  You can get a Kindle copy here and a print copy here.

Please share it widely online and in person!

From everyone at r.i.c.e., “Congratulations, Dean!”  We are so excited to read this in book form!

Here’s the summary on the book jacket to pique your interest:

India’s air pollution is a deadly threat.  Will its politics meet the challenge?

Hundreds of millions of Indians live and die exposed to the world’s worst air pollution.  The harms are worse than you think.  Because pollution hurts growing children, it threatens the health and economy of the next generation.  No family can save itself from the collective danger of pollution.  That is the task of governments — which instead have enacted showy, ineffective policies while neglecting even to measure the problem.

With a smart package of policies, India could have healthier air.  In fact, some strategies could improve air pollution today, while also reducing India’s deep vulnerability to future climate change. 

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Willingness to sacrifice for Climate mitigation: r.i.c.e’s new research now available

A new research paper by Diane, Payal and Dean that studies people’s willingness to sacrifice to achieve climate mitigation is out now!

Using representative data from round 2 of the Social Attitudes Research, India (SARI), this paper finds that people are willing to accept some electricity cuts to prevent climate damages and the demand curve slopes down, meaning that fewer respondents are willing to accept larger costs of mitigation. Moreover, people who reported that temperatures are increasing and that this is bad were more likely to report being willing to accept electricity cuts for mitigation than those who either did not report that temperatures are increasing or did not report that this is bad.

Find more about the paper and a downloadable link here

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