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
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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
A Multiple-Arm, Cluster-Randomized Impact Evaluation of the Clean India (Swachh Bharat) Mission Program in Rural Punjab, India(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05) Andres, Luis ; Deb, Saubhik ; Joseph, George ; Larenas, Maria Isabel ; Grabinsky Zabludovsky, JonathanThis study reports the findings of a large-scale, multiple-arm, cluster-randomized control study carried out in rural Punjab, India, to assess the impact of a flagship sanitation program of the Government of India. The program, the Clean India Mission for Villages, was implemented between October 2014 and October 2019 and aimed to encourage the construction of toilets, eliminate the practice of open defecation, and improve the awareness and practice of good hygiene across rural India. It utilized a combination of behavioral change campaigns, centered on the community-led total sanitation approach, and financial incentives for eligible households. The study also evaluates the incremental effects of intensive hygiene awareness campaigns in selected schools and follow-up initiatives in selected communities. The study finds that the coverage of “safely managed” toilets among households without toilets increased by 6.8–10.4 percentage points across various intervention arms, compared with a control group. Open defecation was reduced by 7.3–7.8 percentage points. The program also had significant positive impacts on hygiene awareness among adults and children, although the interventions of school campaigns and intensive follow-up were of limited additional impact.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-11) Joseph, George ; Wang, Qiao ; Chellaraj, Gnanaraj ; Shamsudduha, Mohammed ; Naser, Abu MohammedIn this paper, the impact of salinity on maternal and child health in Bangladesh is analyzed using data from the Bangladesh Demographic Health Surveys. A U-shaped association between drinking water salinity and infant and neonatal mortality is found, suggesting higher mortality when salinity is very low or high. With fresh drinking water, the marginal effect of salinity measured by groundwater electricity conductivity on infant death is always negative. With brackish drinking water and slightly saline water, the negative effect is small. As drinking water becomes moderately saline, the predicted probability of infant death starts to increase, and the marginal effect becomes and remains positive. The relationship between drinking water salinity and neonatal death shows a similar pattern. Finally, freshwater with very low concentration of healthy minerals and severely saline water with very high detrimental sodium can be harmful for infant and neonatal health during pregnancy. Severe salinity needs to be addressed if the recent gains in infant and neonatal mortality are to be sustained, especially in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.
Children Need Clean Water to Grow: E. Coli Contamination of Drinking Water and Childhood Nutrition in Bangladesh(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-11) Joseph, George ; Haque, Sabrina S. ; Moqueet, Nazia ; Hoo, Yi RongWater, sanitation, and hygiene interventions are increasingly recognized as essential for improving nutritional outcomes in children. Emerging literature describes the negative effects of poor sanitation on child growth. However, limited evidence has shown a link between water quality and nutritional outcomes. Similar to poor sanitation, it is plausible that water contaminated with E. coli could affect the nutritional status of children through various possible biological pathways, such as repeated episodes of diarrhea, environmental enteropathy, parasites, or other mechanisms that inhibit nutrient uptake and absorption. This study explores the relationship between contaminated water and stunting prevalence among children younger than age five years, using unique cross-sectional data from the 2012–13 Bangladesh Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, which was one of the first nationally representative surveys to include water quality testing for E. coli. E. coli contamination in drinking water is measured at household and source points. Stunting is measured using height-for-age z-scores for children under five, where a child is considered stunted when he or she is two or more standard deviations below the median of the World Health Organization reference population. The results of multiple probit regression models indicate a 6 percent increase in the prevalence of stunting in children who are exposed to highly contaminated drinking water at household point compared with those exposed to low-to-medium contamination. When contamination is measured at the source level, the association is greater, with a 9 percent increase in the likelihood of stunting when exposed to a high level of contamination.
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.
Impact of Early Life Exposure to Environments with Unimproved Sanitation on Education Outcomes: Evidence from Bangladesh(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-11) Joseph, George ; Hoo, Yi Rong ; Moqueet, Nazia Sultana ; Chellaraj, GnanarajDespite Bangladesh's notable progress toward the eradication of open defecation, the country still faces severe deficits in the availability of improved sanitation. This paper analyzes the impact of exposure to unimproved sanitation early in childhood on primary school enrollment status, using pseudo-panel data for children ages six to nine years in Bangladesh. The results indicate that unimproved sanitation has a negative and significant impact on primary school enrollment. A child's early exposure to unimproved sanitation decreases the likelihood of being enrolled in primary school by eight to ten percentage points on average compared with a child with access to improved sanitation. The effect is particularly strong -- a difference of 8 to 10 percentage points -- for children ages six to seven. It is also strong in rural areas. The results are statistically robust to errors due to potential omitted variable bias.