How does a Clean Water Project Affect Health in Developing Countries?

Student Author(s)

Cody Herbruck

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sarah Estelle

Document Type


Event Date



How does donating to a clean water initiative really impact the region that receives your donation? This research considers how clean water projects affect child survival in developing countries. One might expect clean water projects to improve overall health by ridding the water of diseases, some potentially fatal for humans. But clean water can also improve the health of livestock and crops leading to healthier food for consumption. However, to identify the causal impact of a clean water intervention, research must control for the fact that treatment is not assigned randomly. For example higher populations are more likely to receive a clean water project and are also likely to have better infrastructure and water that is more tolerable to begin with than areas of low population. For the purpose of this paper I use data from Ghana (treated) and Zambia (control) from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) database. A difference-in-differences technique has been used to look at individual child survival within two countries of similar attributes, with data from before and after the water projects occurred. This research shows that clean water projects have increased the child survival rate in Ghana by 4.8 percent.

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