Why Don't Households Invest in Latrines: Health, Prestige, or Safety?
Posted: 29 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 29, 2014
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: Suggested Citation