Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications Sanitation dynamics: toilet acquisition and its economic and social implications in rural and urban contexts

Sanitation dynamics: toilet acquisition and its economic and social implications in rural and urban contexts

Britta Augsburg and Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes
Journal article | Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development

This paper uses primary micro-data from Indian households residing in rural villages and poor urban neighbourhoods to shed light on household sanitation decision-making. We use a theoretical economic model to reduce the dimensionality and complexity of this process. Beyond the most commonly analysed motivator, health, we consider economic and non-pecuniary benefits. We provide empirical evidence that each of these margins matter, and do so in both rural and urban contexts, and discuss how our findings can be explored in sanitation policy and programme design.

  • Health is but one motivating factor for households to invest in sanitation in the context of India.

  • Households that own sanitation exhibit higher consumption expenditures.

  • An increase in productive asset ownership and a shift in time allocation are potential drivers behind increased consumption expenditures.

  • Sanitation shifts children's time allocation within the household away from domestic chores and collection of water.

  • Sanitation seems to serve as a pre-marital investment strategy.

More on this topic

IFS Working Paper W21/09
We draw on a cluster randomized controlled trial in rural India to provide the first evidence that labelled microcredit is effective in increasing take-up of a lumpy human capital investment, a safe toilet.
In this report, we provide a detailed overview of Ethiopia’s current tax system and the evolution of tax revenue collections over the last 10 years. The report also highlights important changes to the structure of the tax system which have occurred over the past few years, and the associated tax ...
Briefing note
In this briefing note, we review what this shift in policy means for overall aid spending, effective management of the aid budget, and the broader public finances.