Skip Navigation Links
Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management
António Mendes Lopes (editor), Jiazhong Zhang(editor)
António Mendes Lopes (editor)

University of Porto, Portugal


Jiazhong Zhang (editor)

School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710049, China

Fax: +86 29 82668723 Email:

Convergence Analysis of the Sanitation Index for 158 Countries

Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management 7(3) (2019) 263--277 | DOI:10.5890/JEAM.2019.09.002

YuSang Chang$^{1}$, Yoo-Taek Lee$^{2}$, Yoonji Lee$^{3}$, MyungHoon Jin$^{1}$

$^{1}$ College of Business and Economics, Gachon University

$^{2}$ Questrom School of Business, Boston University

$^{3}$ Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

Download Full Text PDF



Since 1990, 2.1 billion people in the world gainedaccess to improved sanitation by 2015. However, 2.4 billion people still did not use a basic toilet. We examined whether the country differences in the sanitation index existing in 1990 had narrowed. We deployed convergence methodology to answer the questions for 158 countries. Results of our analysis indicate that the sanitation indexes for 158 countries were converging toward a rapid reduction of dispersion and a moderate catch-up. The speed of dispersion reduction was led by the upper middle income group, together with the South Asia region. The speed of catch-up was led by the low income group and the East Asia Pacific region. The policy implication from this study is that individual countries should be guided by the speeds of catch-up and dispersion reduction estimated from the appropriate subgroup where they belong for evaluating their future progress.


We are grateful to So Yeon Park, a research assistant at the Gachon Center of Convergence Research, for her contribution.


  1. [1]  Abubakar, I.R. (2017), Access to sanitation facilities among nigerian households: determinants and sustainability implications, Sustainability, 9(4), 547.
  2. [2]  Agovino, M. and Rapposelli, A. (2017), Regional performance trends in providing employment for persons with disabilities: Evidence from Italy, Social Indicators Research, 130(2), 593-615.
  3. [3]  Armah, F.A., Ekumah, B., Yawson, D.O., Odoi, J.O., Afitiri, A.R., and Nyieku, F.E. (2018), Access to improved water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa in a quarter century, Heliyon, 4(11).
  4. [4]  Barro, R. and Sla-i-Martin, X. (1992) Convergence, Journal of Political Economy, 100, 223-251.
  5. [5]  Barro, R.J. (1991), Economic growth in a cross section of countries, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(2), 407-443.
  6. [6]  Bartram, J., Brocklehurst, C., Fisher, M.B., Luyendijk, R., Hossain, R., Wardlaw, T., and Gordon, B. (2014), Global monitoring of water supply and sanitation: history, methods and future challenges, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11, 8137-8165.
  7. [7]  Bhattacharya,M., Inekwe, J.N., Sadorsky, P., and Saha, A. (2018), Convergence of energy productivity across Indian states and territories, Energy Economics, 74, 427-440.
  8. [8]  Boyle, G.E. andMcCarthy, T.G. (1997), A simple measure of beta-convergence,Oxford Bulletin Economics and Statistics, 57(2), 257-64.
  9. [9]  Carrasco, C.A. and Ferreiro, J. (2014), Latin American inflation differentials with USA inflation: does inflation targeting make a difference? Journal of Economic Policy Reform, 17(1), 13-32.
  10. [10]  Cha, S.,Mansiangi, P.M., Elhag, M.S., Lee, Y., and Jin, Y. (2016), Trends of improvedwater and sanitation coverage around the globe between 1990 and 2010: Inequality among countries and performance of official development assistance, Global Health Action, 10(1), 1-14.
  11. [11]  Chang, Y.S., Jeon, S., and Park, N.H. (2019), Do time phase and income influence the convergence in energy intensity? A cross-country analysis, International Journal Energy Technology and Policy, 15(2-3), 301-319.
  12. [12]  Ferrara, A.R. and Nistico, R. (2015), Regional well-being indicators and dispersion from a multidimensional perspective: evidence from Italy, The Annals of Regional Science, 55(2-3), 373-420.
  13. [13]  Friedman, M. (1992), Do old fallacies ever die? Journal of Economic Literature, 30(4), 2129-2132.
  14. [14]  Garn, J.V., Sclar, G.D., Freeman, M.C., Penakalapati, G., Alexander, K. T., Brooks, P., Rehfuess, E.A., Boisson, S., Medlicott, K.O., and Clasen, T.F. (2017), The impact of sanitation interventions on latrine coverage and latrine use: a systematic review and meta-analysis, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 220, 329-340.
  15. [15]  Heckelman, J.C. (2015), Economic freedom convergence clubs, Economic Behavior, Economic Freedom, and Entrepreneurship, pp.102.
  16. [16]  Heckelman, J.C. and Young, A.T. (2013), How Global is Globalization? (posted: 28 Dec 2013).
  17. [17]  Huang, J., Yu, Y., and Ma., C. (2018), Energy efficiency convergence in china: catch-up, lock-in and regulatory uniformity, Environmental and Resource Economics, 70(1), 107-130.
  18. [18]  Hutton, G. and Chase, C. (2017),Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Injury Prevention and Environmental Health, 3rd edition, World Bank.
  19. [19]  Hutton, G. (2015), Benefits and costs of the water sanitation and hygiene targets for the post-2015 development agenda, World Bank, Copenhagen Consensus Center.
  20. [20]  Hutton, G. and Chase, C. (2016), The knowledge base for achieving the sustainable development goal targets on water supply, sanitation and hygiene, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(6), 536.
  21. [21]  Jaunky, V.C. and Zhang, L. (2016), Convergence of operational efficiency in china’s provincial power sectors, The Energy Journal.
  22. [22]  Kallioras, D. and Tsiapa, M. (2015), The regional dimension of economic growth in Ukraine, Eastern European Business and Economics Journal, 1(3, )71-95.
  23. [23]  Liddle, B. (2012), OECD energy intensity, Energy Efficiency, 5, 583-597.
  24. [24]  Obani, P.C. (2018), Strengthening the Human Right to Sanitation as an Instrument for Inclusive Development, CRC Press, London
  25. [25]  Osei, L., Amoyaw, J., Boateng, G.O., Boamah, S., and Luginaah, I. (2015), The paradox of water accessibility: understanding the temporal and spatial dimensions of access to improved water sources in Rwanda, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(4), 553-564.
  26. [26]  Quah, D. (1993), Galton’s fallacy and tests of the convergence hypothesis, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 95(4), 427-43.
  27. [27]  Quah, D. (1996), Empirics for economic growth and convergence, European Economic Review, 40(6), 1353-1375.
  28. [28]  Satterthwaite, D. (2016), Missing the millennium development goal targets for water and sanitation in urban areas, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), 28(1), 99-118.
  29. [29]  Siegel, S. (1956), Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Now York: McGraw-Hill, 229-239.
  30. [30]  UNICEF andWHO (2015), Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water – 2015 update and MDG assessment, Geneva.
  31. [31]  UNICEF (2016), Strategy for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 2016-2030, UNICEF New York.
  32. [32]  United Nations (2008), Official List of MDG Indicators, United Nations; Geneva, Swizerland: 2008.
  33. [33]  United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, A/RES/71/313.
  34. [34]  Van Minh, H. and Hung, N.V. (2011), Economic aspects of sanitation in developing countries, Environmental Health Insights,
  35. [35]  WHO/UNICEF WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP, 2015) for Water Supply and Sanitation [(accessed on 7 December 2017)] Available online:
  36. [36]  Yu, Y. and Zhang, Y. (2015), World energy intensity revisited: a cluster analysis, Applied Economics Letters, 22(14),1158-1169.
  37. [37]  Zumaquero, A.M. and Rivero, S.S. (2016), A contribution to the empirics of convergence in real GDP growth: The role of financial crises and exchange-rate regimes, Applied Economics, 48(23), 2156-2169.
  38. [38]
  39. [39]
  40. [40]