Person:
Joseph, George

Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
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Impact evaluation, Applied microeconomics
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Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
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Last updated June 26, 2023
Biography
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
Citations 38 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
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    An Assessment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Access in Bangladesh's Community Health Clinics
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Joseph, George ; Alam, Bushra Binte ; Shrestha, Anne ; Islam, Khairul ; Lahiri, Santanu ; Ayling, Sophie
    Adequate 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.
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    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, Jonathan
    This 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.
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    Impact of Salinity on Infant and Neonatal Mortality in Bangladesh
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-11) Joseph, George ; Wang, Qiao ; Chellaraj, Gnanaraj ; Shamsudduha, Mohammed ; Naser, Abu Mohammed
    In 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.
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    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 Rong
    Water, 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.
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    Glaciers, Rivers, and Springs: A Water Sector Diagnostic of Nepal
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Joseph, George ; Shrestha, Anne
    Nepal is rich in water resources with a dense network of glaciers, lakes, rivers, and springs that originate in the Himalayas. However, only an estimated 15 billion cubic meters (BCM) of the 225 BCM water available annually is utilized for economic and social purposes. Several elements have contributed to this low rate of utilization, including Nepal’s rugged geography, inadequate institutional capacity, a history of prolonged political instability, and highly skewed seasonality - more than 80 percent of the precipitation in a year falls within a span of four months. For sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, and to enhance shared prosperity, Nepal must increase its investments in water-related infrastructure and institutions and improve the effectiveness of these investments. Although there is much to be done to harness this vital resource, it is important to broaden the development focus and integrate hydropower in a larger water resource management strategy. This strategy will ensure that water is available for basic and economic needs - even through the dry season - as a core component of Nepal’s overall development plan. Given Nepal’s development context and challenges, this document aims to analyze the most pressing sector challenges and identify strategic sector priorities that are aligned with the country’s partnership framework. It offers a snapshot of water in Nepal’s development story and situates the water sector in the broader context of the national economy, highlighting the importance of managing water resources for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. It then presents five pressing sector-related challenges and concludes with a set of priority areas.
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    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, George
    This 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.
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    Behavioral Insights in Infrastructure Sectors: A Survey
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-06) Joseph, George ; Ayling, Sophie ; Miquel-Florensa, Pepita ; Bejarano, Hernán D. ; Cardona, Alejandra Quevedo
    In the past two decades, insights from behavioral sciences, particularly behavioral economics, have been widely applied in the design of social programs such as pensions, social security, and taxation. This paper provides a survey of the existing literature in economics on the application of behavioral insights to infrastructure sectors, focusing on water and energy. Various applications of behavioral insights in the literature are examined from the perspectives of the three main actors in the infrastructure sectors: policy makers, service providers, and consumers. Evidence is presented from the literature on how behavioral regularities, such as imperfect optimization, limited self-control, and nonstandard preferences, affect the strategies, decisions, and actions of policy makers, service providers, and consumers, often leading to suboptimal outcomes for service investment, delivery, access, and use. The paper also highlights how behavioral interventions such as anchoring, framing, nonpecuniary incentives, and altering the choice architecture can lead to improvements in performance, adoption, consumption, and other outcomes of interest in the infrastructure sectors.
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    Multi-Hazard Groundwater Risks to the Drinking Water Supply in Bangladesh: Challenges to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Shamsudduha, Mohammad ; Joseph, George ; Haque, Sabrina S. ; Khan, Mahfuzur R. ; Zahid, Anwar ; Ahmed, Kazi Matin U.
    Groundwater currently provides 98 percent of all the drinking water supply in Bangladesh. Groundwater is found throughout Bangladesh but its quality (that is, arsenic and salinity contamination) and quantity (that is, water storage depletion) vary across hydrological environments, posing unique challenges to certain geographical areas and population groups. Yet, no national-scale, multi-hazard groundwater risk maps currently exist enabling water resource managers and policy makers to identify areas that are vulnerable to public health. This paper develops, for the first time, groundwater risk maps at the national scale for Bangladesh that combine information on arsenic, salinity, and water storage, using geospatial techniques, linking hydrological indicators for water quality and quantity to construct risk maps. A range of socioeconomic variables, including access to drinking and irrigation water supplies and social vulnerability (that is, poverty), are overlaid on these risk maps to estimate exposures. The multi-hazard groundwater risk maps show that a considerable proportion of land area (5 to 24 percent under extremely high to high risks) in Bangladesh is currently under combined risk of arsenic and salinity contamination, and groundwater storage depletion. As few as 6.5 million (2.2 million poor) to 24.4 million (8.6 million poor) people are exposed to a combined risk of high arsenic, salinity, and groundwater storage depletion. The multi-hazard groundwater risk maps reveal areas and exposure of population groups to water risks posed by arsenic and salinity contamination and depletion of water storage.
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    Does Arsenic-Contaminated Drinking Water Limit Early Childhood Development in Bangladesh?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-08) Haque, Sabrina S. ; Joseph, George ; Moqueet, Nazia
    Arsenic contamination in shallow groundwater aquifers remains a major barrier to providing access to safe drinking water in Bangladesh. Chronic exposure to arsenic has been shown to cause serious health impacts, including various cancers, skin lesions, neurological damage, heart disease, and hypertension. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown cognitive impacts on memory, linguistic-abstraction, attention, learning, and physical ability. The neurotoxic effects of arsenic could be particularly harmful for children during their critical growth periods and have impacts on early childhood development. This study uses cross-sectional data from the nationally representative 2012-13 Bangladesh Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey to investigate the effects of arsenic contamination in drinking water on early childhood development outcomes in a sample of around 7,500 children ages 3-5 years. Early childhood development is measured in four skills domains: literacy-numeracy, physical, social-emotional, and learning using the Early Childhood Development Index. Arsenic contamination is measured in source drinking water at the cluster-level. After controlling for a range of demographic, social, and economic characteristics of households, the results show that arsenic contamination is significantly and negatively associated with the overall Early Childhood Development Index, on outcomes within the physical, social-emotional, and learning skills domains. Further, there is a clear dose-response relationship, where those children with exposure to higher concentrations of arsenic have worse developmental outcomes.
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    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, Gnanaraj
    Despite 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.