research institute for compassionate economics

What can India learn from France about open defecation?

Written by Nicholas Lawson on April 28th, 2015
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In reciprocation for my visit to India last year, Dean came to France at the end of March to visit the Aix-Marseille School of Economics.

A great time was had by all, in particular the participants of Dean’s seminar on March 31, where he presented a paper entitled “Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality.”  In this paper, Dean and Mike Geruso show that the Muslim mortality puzzle can be explained by the latrine use of neighbours, which can in turn be explained by the religion of those neighbours: Muslims are much more likely to use latrines than Hindus in India, despite their relative poverty.  It was probably the most attentive and interested audience I have seen at a seminar in all of my time at AMSE.

Dean returned to India, but I am sure that the memories of the bright blue skies, the clean-ish streets, and the plentiful public toilets of Provence will persist for a long time to come.  Inspired by the visit, I wrote an article that appears in today on how the culture of smoking in France could inform those working to reduce open defecation in India.

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