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Delivering basic infrastructure services to the urban poor: a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of bottom-up approaches


  • Narayanan, Sriharini
  • Rajan, A. Thillai
  • Jebaraj, Paul
  • Elayaraja, M.S.


In the provision of basic infrastructure services to the urban poor, limited rigorous evidence on the most effective service delivery approaches is available. This meta-analysis synthesises the evidence on the effectiveness of bottom-up approaches that is characterized by the strong involvement of alternate service providers such as NGO's and CBO's in improving access to electricity, water supply, and sanitation services for the urban poor. Although bottom-up approaches are espoused, we find that they do not have a statistically significant effect. This trend was consistent for all dimensions of access: connectivity, affordability, adequacy, and effort and time. However, our findings also show that bottom-up approaches may be more effective in the water and sanitation sectors than in the electricity sector. When bottom-up approaches involve active participation from the community, the results are significantly positive. Our study suggests that innovations to bottom-up approaches that facilitate active community participation can be an effective way to increase access to basic services among the urban poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Narayanan, Sriharini & Rajan, A. Thillai & Jebaraj, Paul & Elayaraja, M.S., 2017. "Delivering basic infrastructure services to the urban poor: a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of bottom-up approaches," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 50-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juipol:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:50-62
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2017.01.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Devkar, Ganesh A. & Mahalingam, Ashwin & Deep, Akash & Thillairajan, A., 2013. "Impact of Private Sector Participation on access and quality in provision of electricity, telecom and water services in developing countries: A systematic review," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 65-81.
    2. Bel Germà & Fageda Xavier & E. Mildred, 2014. "Is private production of public services cheaper than public production? A meta-regression analysis of solid waste and water services," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 103-140.
    3. Bipasha Baruah, 2010. "Energy services for the urban poor: NGO participation in slum electrification in India," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(6), pages 1011-1027, December.
    4. Bipasha Baruah, 2010. "Energy Services for the Urban Poor: NGO Participation in Slum Electrification in India," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 28(6), pages 1011-1027, December.
    5. Hulya Dagdeviren & Simon A. Robertson, 2011. "Access to Water in the Slums of Sub‐Saharan Africa," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 29(4), pages 485-505, July.
    6. Elisa Roma & Paul Jeffrey, 2011. "Using a diagnostic tool to evaluate the longevity of urban community sanitation systems: A case study from Indonesia," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 807-820, August.
    7. Judith Clifton & Pierre Lanthier & Harm Schröter, 2011. "Regulating and deregulating the public utilities 1830--2010," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(5), pages 659-672, August.
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