Shaming, Bribing or Facilitating: What Would It Take to Eliminate Open Defecation in India?

Sonalde B. Desai, University of Maryland
Michael Paolisso, University of Maryland
Dirk Parham, University of Maryland
Dinesh Tiwari, National Council of Applied Economic Research

More than half the global population that engages in open defecation lives in India. Strong health concerns combined with dismaying visions of consequences of widespread open defection have united the world community and Indian government into strong public policy efforts at building toilets and reducing open defecation. These efforts have included cash subsidies for simple toilet construction as well as funds for Information, Education and Communications campaigns to encourage households to invest in toilet construction. Nonetheless, these efforts have met with only limited success. In this paper we use data from India Human Development Surveys (IHDS) of 2004-5 and 2011-12 as well as ethnographic interviews and cognitive methodology to understand processes that affect household decisions to build toilets as well as to let toilets fall into disuse.

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 Presented in Session P6. Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment