Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economics and Planning Unit (EPU-Delhi)


Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop (EPU-Delhi; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

This thesis consists of three empirical essays that investigate issues in environmental and health economics. The main focus of this thesis is to study how environmental degradation or interventions in this domain can affect demographic and health outcomes of the population in developing countries. The first chapter explores the effect of an information campaign about arsenic contamination in Bangladesh on marriage market outcomes. This study finds that providing information about negative effects of arsenic consumption had an unintended consequence in the marriage market. Specifically, information about lower fertility, skin lesions, cancers and higher mortality related to arsenic exposure induced individuals to get married earlier and reduced bride price. The second essay investigates the effect of exposure to outdoor pollution during the in-utero period on child health outcomes: weight-for-age and height-forage in India. This paper focuses on post survival measures of child health outcomes and solves the endogeniety issues related to pollution exposure by using an instrumental variable strategy. This paper finds that an increase in exposure to pollution during the first trimester reduces height-for-age and weight-for-age for children. Children from Northern India, belonging to poorer households and born to mothers with low level of education are found to be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of pollution. The third chapter looks into the agricultural practice of biomass burning (crop residue burning) and its association with cardiovascular health for four northern states of India, thus contributing to the emerging literature on the crop residue burning and its health effects. This paper finds that individuals who get exposed to high levels of biomass burning have a greater likelihood of being hypertensive. The following sections provide a brief description outlining the research questions, empirical strategies and main findings of each chapter of the thesisInformation Campaign on Water Quality and Marriage Market: The Case of Arsenic Exposure in Rural BangladeshArsenic contamination of drinking water has caused a major health emergency in Bangladesh owing to multiple health problems associated with it, which range from skin lesions to various types of cancers. It remained largely unknown and became public knowledge only later through a nationwide information campaign. In this chapter, we study the impact of the information campaign on marriage patterns in Bangladesh. Using data on arsenic contamination, we categorize sub-districts of Bangladesh into arsenic and non-arsenic areas and then use a difference-in-difference strategy to evaluate the impact of information campaign on marriage market outcomes. We analyse mainly two marriage market outcomes - the age at marriage and the bride price agreed at the time of marriage. In our empirical specification, we account for sub-district level fixed effects to account for initial differences in outcomes due to location (and differing levels of arsenic contamination) and year of marriage fixed effects to account for secular trends in outcomes. Further we include district level linear trends in our analysis to remove the impact of district level time varying variables. We find that age at marriage and bride price both reduced in arsenic affected areas in comparison to non-arsenic affected areas in response to information campaign. The age at marriage for males reduced by 1 to 3.5 percent and by 0.67 to 0.94 percent for females. Bride price reduced by around 64 percent. The campaign owes its success in terms of generating awareness about water contamination to its unique design. Constant visual reminders, multiple strategies to avoid contaminated water and public forums for information disbursal seem to have worked in Bangladesh. We find evidence that such campaigns which informs people about adverse outcomes, may also lead to undesirable social outcomes; we demonstrate one such consequence in the marriage market.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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