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Mr. Samuel Stolper
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 502 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-0739
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science and Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow
Samuel Stolper is a Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on measuring the costs, benefits, and welfare impacts of environmental problems and policies. Sam is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Development in India led by Professor Rohini Pande. He graduated from Brown University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and did research in nanotechnology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (2006-2007). After switching to social science, Sam worked as a research assistant for Prof. Rema Hanna at the Harvard’s Center for International Development helping to run a randomized evaluation of clean cooking stoves in Orissa, India and to analyze the impacts of major environmental policies in Indian cities (2008-2010). He is the recipient of the Vicki Norberg Bohm Fellowship (2012). His faculty host is Rohini Pande.
Negative externalities of industrialization: Water pollution and infant health in India
The nature of pollution’s effect on health is an important issue for governments, especially in the developing world, where air and water quality in industrialized areas are often quite low. The medical literature has provided anecdotal evidence that exposure to various pollutants has damaging effects, while the economics literature has begun to causally link pollution to health in various contexts. However, evidence on water pollution in developing countries is relatively scarce. To address this scarcity, we conduct an econometric analysis of water pollution and infant health in India. We use a novel identification strategy that takes advantage of natural geographic variation and uniquely rich data on pollution in India’s rivers. The research quantifies a significant negative externality associated with industrialization and assesses the viability of current levels of water quality in India’s ever-important river systems. Beyond providing a general dose-response relationship between water pollution and infant mortality, the research seeks to answer specific questions about: the types of pollution that are most harmful; differential age-sensitivity to pollution-induced morbidity; and the pathways through which surface water pollution induces a household health burden. This research is conducted jointly with Quy-Toan Do at the World Bank and Shareen Joshi at Georgetown University.