research institute for compassionate economics

Welcome new readers from the New York Times!

Written by Dean Spears on July 14th, 2014

r.i.c.e. is a non-profit economic and demographic research organization working in India, and concentrating on child health and early-life human development. Many new readers are finding us from Gardiner Harris’s New York Times article, Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children with Malnutrition.

 

Indian children -- the three large circles in the bottom corner -- face the double threat of exceptionally high open defecation amidst high population density.
Indian children — the three large circles in the bottom corner — face the double threat of exceptionally high open defecation amidst high population density.

 

Indeed, widespread open defecation in India is a human development tragedy of enormous scale. That’s why we research it, and why we are hopeful for policy action that focuses on promoting toilet and latrine use, not just more construction projects. But sanitation is not the only thing we study: recent r.i.c.e. research has also focused on child nutrition and women’s status, child height and cognition, maternal healthcare, and the link between women’s status and clean cooking fuel use.

For more on r.i.c.e.’s sanitation research:

  • This paper details our finding highlighted in the article that open defecation is an important part of what makes Indian children so short.
  • This website presents findings from our recent SQUAT survey in rural north India, highlighting the behavioral and social challenges entailed in reducing open defecation.