Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Development Economics
Title Irrigation dams, water and infant mortality: Evidence from South Africa
Author(s)
Volume 138
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2019
Page numbers 17 -40
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387818300166
Abstract
Irrigation dams enable farmers to harness substantial water resources. However, their use consumes finite water supplies and recycles agricultural water pollutants back into river systems. This paper examines the net effect of irrigation dams on infant mortality in South Africa. It relies on both fixed effects and instrumental variables approaches to counteract potential bias associated with non-random dam placement, with the latter approach predicting dam placement based on geographic features and policy changes. The analysis reveals that additional irrigation dams within South Africa's former homeland districts after Apartheid increased infant mortality by 10–20 percent. I then discuss and evaluate possible channels. Dam-induced increases in agricultural activity could increase water pollution and reduce water availability, and I provide supporting evidence that both channels may contribute. These results suggest a potential trade-off between the health costs of agricultural water use and the economic benefits of increased agricultural production.

Related studies

»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Mettetal, Elizabeth. "Irrigation dams, water and infant mortality: Evidence from South Africa." Journal of Development Economics (2019).
Copyright DataFirst, University of Cape Town