The effect of sanitation and safe drinking water on child mortality and life expectancy: Evidence from a global sample of 100 countries

Publication Name

Australian Economic Papers


This paper aims to answer two important questions: first, does child mortality reduce with better access to sanitation and safe drinking water? second, does life expectancy improve by adopting safer sanitation and drinking water facilities? The study also accounts for other important variables in the models, such as household final consumption expenditure, per capita income, and urbanisation. The study employs robust panel econometric techniques to achieve the study objectives using annual data of 100 countries from 1990 to 2015. Our findings establish that sanitation and safe drinking water facilities have a significant negative and positive impacts on child mortality and life expectancy, respectively. Our results also suggest that the effect is more from safe drinking water facilities than the sanitation across both models. The robustness check results confirm that access to sanitation and water facilities in rural and urban areas also plays a vital role in reducing child mortality and improving quality of life by increasing life expectancy. Our study provides some policy suggestions and adds value to the body of knowledge.

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