Benefits, hygiene, Sanitation, Water

Human capital and WASH – a note

Possible mechanisms by which WASH increases human capital

In labour economics, human capital is a worker’s stock of knowledge and skills which contributes to their productivity and earnings. Human capital accumulation is a process of developing skills within and beyond cognitive domains, in which the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are crucial.

In a note on this topic available here, I present a conceptual model (shown above) for the relationship between improvements in WASH services and increased human capital. Three pathways are proposed: early childhood development; all-age health capital; and school.

The early childhood development pathway is likely to be most important, due to its far-reaching and long-lasting implications for human capital. I also review some recent evidence linking sanitation and early childhood cognitive development published since the last systematic review on this topic.

[I’ve started writing longer “notes” like this on certain topics, which are not quite working papers but longer than blogposts. Feedback/critique is most welcome!]

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