Lack of Access to Clean Fuel and Piped Water and Children’s Educational Outcomes in Rural India
Sonalde DesaiUniversity of Maryland
Investments in clean fuel and piped water are often recommended in developing countries on health grounds. This paper examines an alternative channel, the relationship between piped water and access to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and children’s educational outcomes. Results based on the second round of the India Human Development Survey (2011-12) for rural India show that children aged 6-14 years, living in households that rely on free collection of water and cooking fuel, have lower mathematics scores and benefit from lower educational expenditures than children living in households that do not collect water and fuel. Moreover, gender inequality in this unpaid work burden also matters. In households where the burden of collection is disproportionately borne by women, child outcomes are significantly lower, and in some cases, particularly so for boys. The endogeneity of choice to collect or purchase water and cooking fuel are modeled via Heckman selection and the entropy balancing method.