Critical Review of “The Challenge of Sanitation and Water”
The initially considered Copenhagen Consensus paper concentrates on the problems associated with poor hygienic qualities and insufficient supply of water to populations of the developing countries. It was presented by Frank Rijsberman in 2004, and further revised by two opponents.
It states as a rationale for the research the fact that respective problem badly affects over a billion impoverished people in the world, and its cost amounts to 80 million Disability Adjusted Life Years. The paper goes on considering extensive cost-benefit analysis of options to deal with the problem, such as community-managed low cost water supply, water technologies for livelihoods, and improving productivity of water usage in manufacturing of food. Results are further presented quantitatively.The problem of imperfect quality and provision of water is of particular importance because according to the most recent research, such as, for instance, Pruss-Ustun et al. (2008), it contributes to about 7% of overall mortality in emerging countries, and about half of the population of developing countries suffers from one or more water-borne diseases.
Talking about methodology of the conducted research, that is, simple scatter plots accompanied by correlation coefficients, with all the existent advances in econometric science it can be viewed as a bit outdated. Statistic validity of the study could be tangibly increased with the utilization of more complex and reliable methods. The advancement of review relative to the source paper lies in using a panel cross-section of two observation points: years 2004 and 2011. However, in order to capture year-related heterogeneity effects, including intermediate periods of time in the framework of one larger pooled regression would make the causal relationship between the set of variables of interest more clear.
Also, I would offer exploring at least 10 years of panel data utilizing such convenient regression methods as fixed and random effects, which would enable eliminating heterogeneous effects of different countries as well as years, if they are at all present in the dataset considered. In retrospective we can see that scholars utilized these techniques extensively in their attempts to explore related topics. For instance, Fewtrell et al. (2005) studied in their research the effects of hygiene interventions on reducing exposure to intestinal infections of the population of less developed countries. In the same manner, Lee and Rosenzweig (1997) research how improved sanitation, nutrition and water supply influence health of children in countries with prevalent high mortality, incorporating latent variable fixed effects techniques.
Random effects are made use of in the work by Checkley et al. (2004), in order to account for growth heterogeneity among individuals in a study of influences of improved sanitation on childhood health in Peru. Same approach could work well to identify “random effects” attributing to various developing countries in the dataset which the challenge paper and the review utilize and describe. Most recent prominent works on the topic where fixed and random effects methodologies are utilized and at times contrasted in order to study water and sanitation, are, for instance, Fuller et …