Changes in Open Defecation in Rural North India: 2014-2018

26 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Aashish Gupta

Aashish Gupta

University of Pennsylvania

Nazar Khalid

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

Devashish Desphande

Center for Policy Research (India)

Payal Hathi

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

Avani Kapur

Centre for Policy Research, Accountability Initiative

Nikhil Srivastav

University of Texas at Austin

Sangita Vyas

University of Texas at Austin

Dean Spears

University of Texas at Austin; Economics and Planning Unit, ISI-Delhi; r.i.c.e.; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Diane Coffey

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

Abstract

Since October 2014, the Government of India has worked towards a goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019 through the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). In June 2014, we reported the results of a survey of rural sanitation behaviour in north India. Here, we report results from a late 2018 survey that revisited households from the 2014 survey in four states: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Although rural latrine ownership increased considerably over this period, open defecation remains very common in these four states. There is substantial heterogeneity across states in what the SBM did and how.Many survey respondents report that the SBM attempted to coerce latrine construction, including by withholding or threatening to withhold government benefits. ST and SC households were especially likely to face coercion. Variation in SBM coercion is correlated with variation in sanitation outcomes: in villages where more people report coercive SBM activities, more people also reported switching to latrine use. These outcomes suggest the need for transparent, fact-based public dialogue about the SBM: its costs and benefits, its accomplishments and means.

Keywords: sanitation, open defecation, India, development, environmental health, behaviour, Swachh Bharat Mission

JEL Classification: O15, I15

Suggested Citation

Gupta, Aashish and Khalid, Nazar and Desphande, Devashish and Hathi, Payal and Kapur, Avani and Srivastav, Nikhil and Vyas, Sangita and Spears, Dean and Coffey, Diane, Changes in Open Defecation in Rural North India: 2014-2018. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12065. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323179

Aashish Gupta (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Nazar Khalid

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.) ( email )

New Delhi
India

Devashish Desphande

Center for Policy Research (India)

Dharma Marg
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi, 110022
India

Payal Hathi

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)

New Delhi
India

Avani Kapur

Centre for Policy Research, Accountability Initiative ( email )

Dharma Marg
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi, 110022
India

Nikhil Srivastav

University of Texas at Austin

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Sangita Vyas

University of Texas at Austin

Dean Spears

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Economics and Planning Unit, ISI-Delhi ( email )

7 S .J. S.
Sansanwal Marg
New Delhi, 110016
India

r.i.c.e.

New Delhi
India

HOME PAGE: http://www.riceinstitute.org

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Diane Coffey

Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.) ( email )

New Delhi
India

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