research institute for compassionate economics


Sangita Vyas

Research Fellow

[email protected]

Sangita’s research focuses on child health in India. Recently, her work focuses on the causes and consequences of poor air quality in India. Her working paper, “Child health impacts of coal: Evidence from India’s coal expansion,” finds that children born in an Indian village at a time when coal plant capacity is higher, are shorter than children born in the same village at a time when coal plant capacity is lower. Field research in rural north India has shed light on an important cause of poor air quality in rural areas: the continued use of solid fuels despite increases in LPG ownership brought about by the Ujjwala Yojana. Another area of Sangita’s research investigates the causes and consequences of poor sanitation in rural India. She discusses the findings of this research in a widely-viewed TEDx talk.

Sangita is also a PhD student in the economics department at the University of Texas at Austin. She received an MPA from Princeton University, and a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Curriculum Vitae



An insightful article on Swachh Bharat Mission

By Sangita Vyas, on June 15th, 2017

An article in last month's Caravan magazine covers the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission and provides sharp insight into some of the problems the program faces in rapidly reducing open defecation. Sagar, the author of the article, visited three places close toRead More..


An article on rural outdoor air pollution in The Caravan!

By Sangita Vyas, on May 31st, 2017

Until now, concern and action regarding outdoor air pollution in India have focused on Delhi and other large urban centers. However, 30 percent of Indians live in rural Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which satellite images show falling underRead More..


Work with r.i.c.e. and 3ie on a project to learn about latrine use measurement!

By Sangita Vyas, on April 23rd, 2017

We are delighted to announce that we are seeking applications for a team to carry out a new project — in partnership with 3ie and the WASH team at the Gates Foundation — that can help us learn about how toRead More..


How to continue the pit emptying momentum

By Sangita Vyas, on March 11th, 2017

I'm pasting below a list of practical action ideas that Robert Chambers has proposed after the pit emptying demonstration in Warangal. These are activities that governments and organizations can take up alike, to break down taboos around pit emptying related to caste andRead More..



Measuring open defecation in India using survey questions: Evidence from a randomized survey experiment

By Sangita Vyas, on September 28th, 2019

Objectives: To investigate differences in reported open defecation between a question about latrine use or open defecation for every household member and a household-level question. Setting: Rural India is home to most of the world’s open defecation. India’s Demographic andRead More..


The association of early-life exposure to ambient PM2.5 and later-childhood height-for-age in India: an observational study

By Sangita Vyas, on July 25th, 2019

This paper by Dean and Sangita (co-authored with Sagnik Dey, Sourangshu Choundary, Noah Scovronick and Joshua Apte) is the first study to directly estimate the impact of early-life exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on child height-for-age at theRead More..


The child health impacts of coal: evidence from India's coal expansion

By Sangita Vyas, on July 21st, 2019

This paper investigates the child health impacts associated with a large coal plant expansion in India. Using place and cohort fixed effects, exposure to a median-sized coal plant at birth is associated with a height deficit of 0.09-0.10 standard deviations.Read More..


Outdoor air pollution in rural India

By Sangita Vyas, on April 2nd, 2018

Exposure to air pollution has important consequences for public health. In January 2017, we visited Reusa, a block in Uttar Pradesh, to investigate pollution-generating activities and the policies that aim to mitigate them in rural areas. We found many sources ofRead More..

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