Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Sanitation and Hygiene

Borooah, Vani (2018): Sanitation and Hygiene. Published in: Health and Well-Being in India No. Palgrave Macmillan (May 2018): pp. 29-66.

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Using data from the Indian Human Development Survey, this chapter examines both toilet possession and personal hygiene in India. It shows that the strongest influences on households in India having a toilet were their standard of living, the highest educational level of adults in the households, and whether or not they possesses ancillary amenities like a separate kitchen for cooking, a pucca roof and floor, and water supply within the dwelling or its compound. However, in so doing, it also shows that whether households had toilets depended not just on household-specific factors but also on the social environment within which the households were located. More specifically, ceteris paribus households in more developed villages would be more likely to have a toilet than those in less developed villages. The chapter rejects the nihilism of the idea, put forward in several academic papers , that the problem of open defecation in India is an intractable one because caste, ritual pollution, and untouchability instil in rural Indians a preference for open spaces.

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