Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
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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 - 9 of 9
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Joseph, George ; Alam, Bushra Binte ; Shrestha, Anne ; Islam, Khairul ; Lahiri, Santanu ; Ayling, SophieAdequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities plays a critical role in ensuring improved health care utilization and reducing disease burden due to reinfection. WASH in health facilities is now gaining momentum with the new SDG targets that governments have vowed to meet. This goal calls for a baseline examination of existing WASH conditions in health facilities. Using data collected through a census of all community health clinics in Bangladesh, this paper presents an analysis of the state of WASH in Bangladesh's rural, public health facilities highlighting that the lack of functionality of WASH facilities is a widespread problem across the country. The paper also identifies priority areas for action when considering the prevalence of poverty and chronic undernutrition at the upazilla level.
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, 2018-03) 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.
Why Are So Many Water Points in Nigeria Non-Functional?: An Empirical Analysis of Contributing Factors(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, timing, as well as reasons for the failure of water points. The paper finds that more than 38 percent of all improved water points are nonfunctional. The results indicate that nearly 27 percent of the water points are likely to fail in the first year of construction, while nearly 40 percent are likely to fail in the long run (after 8-10 years). The paper considers the reasons behind these failures, looking at whether they can or cannot be controlled. During the first year, a water point's location -- the political region and underlying hydrogeology -- has the greatest impact on functionality. Other factors—specifically, those that can be controlled in the design, implementation, and operational stages -- also contribute significantly. As water points age, their likelihood of failure is best predicted by factors that cannot be modified, as well as by the technology used. The paper concludes that, to improve the sustainability of water points, much can be done at the design, implementation, and operational stages. Over time, technology upgrades are important.
The Next Frontier in Water Supply Service Delivery: An Assessment of the Performance of Water Sector Service Providers in Pourashavas in Bangladesh(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Bahuguna, Aroha ; Andres, Luis Alberto ; Joseph, George ; Huq, MainulUsing data from the International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities, this paper on the water sector in pourashavas (municipalities) in Bangladesh provides an analysis of the trends in the water sector development over 2010–16. The main purpose of the paper is to examine the average performance of the water sector providers in the pourashavas to encourage conversation on identifying and addressing deficiencies in service performance in comparison with that in the rest of Bangladesh and the world. This analysis finds that although pourashavas perform on the lower end of the spectrum compared with the rest of Bangladesh on many indicators, the top 20 percent of the pourashavas are globally competitive on indicators of staff productivity, cost coverage, and daily per capita consumption of water.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08-28) Andres, Luis A. ; Thibert, Michael ; Lombana Cordoba, Camilo ; Danilenko, Alexander V. ; Joseph, George ; Borja-Vega, ChristianThis report explores how scarce public resources can be used most effectively to achieve universal delivery of water supply and sanitation services. It analyzes the prevalence and performance of subsidies in the sector, then guide policymakers on improving subsidy design and implementation to improve their efficacy and efficiency in attaining their objectives.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-02) Andres, Luis A. ; Bhatt, Samir ; Dasgupta, Basab ; Echenique, Juan A. ; Gething, Peter W. ; Grabinsky Zabludovsky, Jonathan ; Joseph, GeorgeThe paper presents the development and implementation of a geo-spatial model for mapping populations' access to specified types of water and sanitation services in Nigeria. The analysis uses geo-located, population-representative data from the National Water and Sanitation Survey 2015, along with relevant geo-spatial covariates. The model generates predictions for levels of access to seven indicators of water and sanitation services across Nigeria at a resolution of 1×1 square kilometers. The predictions promise to hone the targeting of policies meant to improve access to basic services in various regions of the country.
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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Andres, Luis ; Espineira, Gonzalo ; Joseph, George ; Sember, German ; Thibert, MichaelThe water supply and sanitation sector remains heavily subsidized around the world. Yet, the accounting of water supply and sanitation subsidies globally has proved challenging due to utility-level data limitations and their often implicit nature. This paper develops a methodology to estimate water supply and sanitation subsidies that is adaptable to data scarce environments, while accounting for differences among service providers such as population served (to account for economies of scale), coverage of water and sanitation services individually, and their level of operational efficiency in terms of water losses and staffing. This methodology is based on Chile’s empresa modelo (model firm) approach to cost-reflective tariff estimation and uses utility-level data from the World Bank's International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities database. The results suggest that the cost of subsidies associated with the operations, maintenance, and major repair and replacement of existing water supply and sanitation infrastructure in much of the world (excluding, notably, China and India) is an estimated $289 billion to $353 billion per year, or 0.46 to 0.56 percent of the countries' combined gross domestic product. This figure rises, shockingly, to 1.59 to 1.95 percent if only low- and middle-income economies are considered, an amount largely due to the capital subsidies captured in the estimation. Subsidies of operating costs account for approximately 22 percent of the total subsidy amount in the full sample and for low-income economies separately. Annual subsidy amounts by region range from 0.05 to 2.40 percent of gross domestic product, and low-income economies are generally at the high end of this range. The estimations do not include capital expenditure for infrastructure expansion -- which tends to be fully subsidized -- or environmental costs. Therefore, the actual global magnitude of networked water supply and sanitation subsidies is much greater than the estimation.