Why Don't Households Invest in Latrines: Health, Prestige, or Safety?

Posted: 29 Apr 2014

See all articles by Elena Gross

Elena Gross

University of Bayreuth Chair Development Economics and BIGSAS

Isabel Günther

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Date Written: April 29, 2014

Abstract

70 percent of the rural population in sub-Saharan Africa does not use adequate sanitation facilities. In rural Benin, as much as 95 percent of the population is without access to improved sanitation. This paper explores, analyzing a representative sample of 2000 rural households, why households remain without latrines. Our results show that wealth and latrine prices play the most decisive role for sanitation demand and ownership. At current income levels, sanitation coverage will only increase to 50 percent if costs for construction are reduced from currently $200 USD to $50 USD for a latrine. Our analysis also suggests that previous sanitation promotion campaigns, which were based on prestige and modern lifestyle as a motive for latrine construction, have had only limited success in increasing sanitation coverage. Moreover, improved public health, which is the objective of public policies promoting sanitation, is also difficult to achieve at low sanitation coverage rates. Fear at night, especially of animals, and personal harassment, is stated as the most important motivational factor for latrine ownership and the intention to build one. We therefore suggest that social marketing strategies should be adjusted accordingly.

Keywords: Sanitation, Demand, Willingness to pay, Motivational factors

JEL Classification: D12, O12, O31, O55

Suggested Citation

Gross, Elena and Günther, Isabel, Why Don't Households Invest in Latrines: Health, Prestige, or Safety? (April 29, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2430598

Elena Gross (Contact Author)

University of Bayreuth Chair Development Economics and BIGSAS ( email )

Universitätsstraße 30
Bayreuth, 95447
Germany

Isabel Günther

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

ETH-Zentrum SEW E 26
CH-8092 Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

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