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A Community Based Program Promotes Sanitation

Author

Listed:
  • Alzúa, María Laura

    () (Universidad Nacional de la Plata)

  • Djebbari, Habiba

    () (Université Laval)

  • Pickering, Amy J.

    () (Tufts University)

Abstract

Basic sanitation facilities are still lacking in large parts of the developing world, engendering serious environmental health risks. Interventions commonly deliver in-kind or cash subsidies to promote private toilet ownership. In this paper, we assess an intervention that provides information and behavioral incentives to encourage villagers in rural Mali to build and use basic latrines. Using an experimental research design and carefully measured indicators of use, we find a sizeable impact from this intervention: latrine ownership and use almost doubled in intervention villages, and open defecation was reduced by half. Our results partially attribute these effects to increased knowledge about cheap and locally available sanitation solutions. They are also associated with shifts in the social norm governing sanitation. Taken together, our findings, unlike previous evidence from other contexts, suggest that a progressive approach that starts with ending open defecation and targets whole communities at a time can help meet the new Sustainable Development Goal of ending open defecation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alzúa, María Laura & Djebbari, Habiba & Pickering, Amy J., 2018. "A Community Based Program Promotes Sanitation," IZA Discussion Papers 11446, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11446
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Esther Duflo & Michael Greenstone & Raymond Guiteras & Thomas Clasen, 2015. "Toilets Can Work: Short and Medium Run Health Impacts of Addressing Complementarities and Externalities in Water and Sanitation," NBER Working Papers 21521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sanitation; behavioral change; community-based intervention; social norm;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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