Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Impact evaluation, Applied microeconomics
Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated June 26, 2023
George Joseph is a Senior Economist with the Water Global Practice of the World Bank, Washington, DC. His research interests are centered on development economics and behavioral and applied microeconomics. He received his PhD in economics from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and an MA in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2020-07-16) Haque, Sabrina ; Yanez-Pagans, Monica ; Arias-Granada, Yurani ; Joseph, GeorgeSlum populations are commonly characterized to have poorly developed water and sanitation systems and speculated to access services through informal channels. However, there are limited representative profiles of water and sanitation services in slums, making it difficult to prioritize interventions that will make services safer for residents. This cross-sectional study examines quality and provision of access to water and sanitation services in government slums across Dhaka, Bangladesh. Access is overall high but is subject to quality issues related to safety, reliability, and liability. Services are often operated by informal middlemen at various stages of provision.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-06-26) Gething, Peter W. ; Ayling, Sophie ; Mugabi, Josses ; Muximpua, Odete Duarte ; Joseph, George ; Kagulura, Solomon SitinadziweUrbanization combined with climate change are exacerbating water scarcity for an increasing number of the world’s emerging cities. Water and sanitation infrastructure, which in the first place was largely built to cater only to a small subsector of developing city populations during colonial times, are increasingly coming under excessive strain. In the rapidly growing cities of the developing world, expansion does not always keep pace with population demand, leading to waterborne diseases, such as cholera (Vibrio cholerae) and typhoid (Salmonella serotype Typhi). Funding gaps therefore make targeting for efficient spending on infrastructure upgrades essential for reducing the burden of disease. This paper applies geospatial analysis in Lusaka, Zambia, in the context of the cholera outbreak of October 2017 to May 2018, to identify different water and sanitation infrastructure investment scenarios and their relative impact on reducing the risk of cholera in the city. The analysis presented uses cholera case location data and geospatial covariates, including the location of and access to networked and non-networked Water and sanitation infrastructure, groundwater vulnerability, and drainage, to generate a high-resolution map of cholera risk across the city. The analysis presents scenarios of standalone or combined investments across sewerage coverage and maintenance, on-site sanitation improvements, piped water network coverage and quality, and ensuring the safety of point source water. It identifies the investment most strongly correlated with the largest reduction in cholera risk as the provision of flush to sewer infrastructure citywide. However, it also considers the trade-offs in terms of financial cost versus health benefits and takes note of where the next highest health benefits could be achieved for a much lower cost. Finally, the analysis was done in the context of a considered restructuring of an existing World Bank investment, the Lusaka Sanitation Program. It identifies what appears to be the most efficient combined initiative as partial sanitation investment scale-up and investment in piped water in 10 priority wards where the cholera risk was highest.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-03) Andres, Luis ; Chellaraj, Gnanaraj ; Das Gupta, Basab ; Grabinsky, Jonathan ; Joseph, GeorgeThis paper utilizes information from the 2015 Nigeria National Water and Sanitation Survey to identify the extent and timing of the failure of water schemes in the country and the factors affecting it. Around 46 percent of all the water schemes in Nigeria are nonfunctional, and approximately 30 percent are likely to fail in the first year. The results indicate that during the first year of operation, factors that can be controlled in the design, implementation, and operational stages contribute to the failure of 61 percent of the water schemes. As water schemes age, their likelihood of failure is best predicted by factors that cannot be modified. The influence of operational factors, such as repairs and maintenance, decreases slightly over time.
Measuring Deprivations in the Slums of Bangladesh: Implications for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals(Taylor and Francis, 2019-06-10) Patel, Amit ; Joseph, George ; Shrestha, Anne ; Foint, YaeliApproximately 880 million people, or one in four urban residents, live in slums today. While this enumeration is useful, it is not a trivial exercise to estimate slum population for a city, let alone globally, especially when the definition of a slum remains a debatable construct. To demonstrate this point empirically, we utilize a household survey from nine cities in Bangladesh and provide three different estimates of slum population based on three distinct definitions. We use a contextual definition that was adapted by the Government of Bangladesh, and two universal definitions that were adapted by the international development community. Two of the universal definitions were proposed to track progress on the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, respectively. By applying these different definitions to the same data, we found that the Bangladeshi Government’s definition provides slum population estimates that are far lower compared to those when we apply the definitions provided by the international development community. Such underestimation could misguide policymakers who want to know the extent of the policy problem, influence what kind of policy solutions will be pursued, and directly affect how these solutions will be targeted to respective populations.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-08) Arias-Granada, Yurani ; Haque, Sabrina S. ; Joseph, George ; Yanez-Pagans, MonicaUrban slum residents often have worse health outcomes compared with other urbanites and even their rural counterparts. This suggests that slum residents do not always benefit from the "urban advantage" of enjoying better access to health-promoting services. Limited access to water and sanitation services in slums could contribute to poor health of slum residents. In Bangladesh, these services generally are not delivered through formal utilities, but rather through well-functioning informal markets that are operated by middlemen and local providers. This paper analyzes a household survey to examine living conditions and quality of access to water and sanitation services in small-, medium-, and large-sized slums across Dhaka, Bangladesh. The analysis finds that access to water and sanitation services is overall quite high, but these services are subject to important quality issues related to safety, reliability, and liability. Although water access is nearly universal, water services are often interrupted or sometimes inaccessible. Sanitation is commonly shared, with the average ratio being 16 households to one facility. When considering fecal sludge management, the study finds that only 2 percent of these households have access to the Joint Monitoring Programme's conceptualization of "safely managed sanitation." The paper also finds strong evidence that water and sanitation services are operated by middlemen at various stages of service provision such as installation, management, and payment collection. The paper provides a snapshot of the differential quality in access to these services based on the monetary welfare level of the household. The snapshot shows that access to water and sanitation services is highly correlated to per capita household consumption levels, although quality remains low overall within slums. Overall, it is likely that the informality of water and sanitation services may exacerbate social and environmental risk factors for poor health and well-being.