Community toilet use in slums - willingness to pay and the role of informational and supply side constraints
Last registered on June 20, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Community toilet use in slums - willingness to pay and the role of informational and supply side constraints
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003087
Initial registration date
June 18, 2018
Last updated
June 20, 2018 3:04 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
IFS
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
LSE/IFS
PI Affiliation
Morsel India
PI Affiliation
UCL/IFS
PI Affiliation
University of Navarro/IFS
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2017-08-15
End date
2020-01-30
Secondary IDs
DPW1/1105
Abstract
While urbanization can bring benefits for economic, cultural and societal development, a rapid pace of urbanization can create enormous challenges. Cities in low and middle-income countries in particular are struggling to keep up with necessary infrastructure investment. Urban slums are a result of the unprecedented rate of urbanization that is leading 40 per cent of the world’s urban population expansion to happen in areas with depressed private and public investment (Marx, Stoker, and Suri 2013). The water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure in particular is stressed beyond current capacity. Given that recent evidence suggests that inadequate sanitation is particularly threatening to early-life health when coupled with high population density (Hathi et al. 2017), efforts to improve sanitary conditions in slums are therefore of direct policy relevance.

It is generally accepted that public and community toilets (CTs) will, for the foreseeable future, continue to be an important solution to improve sanitary conditions in slums, given numerous constraints to increasing access to safely-managed private toilets. The Joint Monitoring Program WHO-UNICEF has recently classified CTs in a higher step of the sanitation ladder than private on-site unimproved sanitation solutions (JMP WHO-UNICEF 2017). However, even where CTs are available, open defecation remains common behaviour among slum-dwellers. In India, CTs have been widely introduced in slums, but they are only used by 15% of slum-dwellers. Open defecation remains a common behaviour, practiced by more than half of Indian slum-dwellers without in-house sanitation facilities (Indian Ministry of Home Affairs 2011).

In this context our study has three main objectives:
i) to document slum dwellers' the willingness to pay (WTP) for community toilets and its link with usage;
ii) to identify the impact of releasing supply-side or both supply-side and informational constraints on WTP and usage;
iii) to determine the time horizon of such impacts (short-term, longer-term, or both).

To do so, we will implement a cluster-randomized design in 110 slums in the cities of Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, India. CTs and their catchment areas will be randomly allocated to either a supply-side intervention on its own or the supply-side intervention combined with information provision. Alongside this, we will measure WTP by offering survey respondents a bundle of tickets for using the CT closest to the household.

Our specific research questions are:
• What is slum-dwellers’ WTP for CT access? And does WTP affect CT usage (evidence of a screening effect)?
• Can the releasing of resource constraints and provision of financial incentives to caretakers improve quality of CTs?
• Can slum-dwellers’ WTP for CTs and their usage be affected by promoting and ensuring such CT quality improvements?
• Is the effect of promoting CT quality improvements on WTP for and usage of CTs greater when also providing slum-dwellers with information about private and public risks of open defecation, as well as benefits of CTs and users’ duties and rights when paying the CT fee?
• Do the interventions have longer-run effects on WTP and/or CT usage?
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Armand, Alex et al. 2018. "Community toilet use in slums - willingness to pay and the role of informational and supply side constraints." AEA RCT Registry. June 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3087/history/31040
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Two interventions will be evaluated:

(1) Supply-side intervention:
In this intervention, cleanliness and maintenance of CTs will be promoted. A grant scheme will be introduced that offers standardized (i.e. same monetary value) packages including either (i) deep cleaning (i.e. septic tank sewage removal, unclogging latrines and sewerage pipes and cleaning walls, floors and inside toilets), (ii) sanitation/water connection repairs and/or infrastructure refurbishment or (iii) cleaning tools and agents and cleaning training, from which CT caretakers can choose according to their needs and their expectations to increase usage. In addition (two month after baseline) a financial reward aimed at incentivizing caretakers to keep the CT clean will be announced. At this point, CT caretakers will be informed of their baseline cleanliness performance. After two months (and every two months from then on), caretakers will receive a financial reward conditional on achieving the following: (i) availability of soap in hand-washing facilities; (ii) latrines free of visible faeces; and (iii) bacteria count in defecation cubicles kept to a minimum standard (to be computed from the baseline distribution). We aim to disentangle the effects of releasing resource constraints from the announcement and payment of the reward scheme, relying on the phased-in design of the supply-side intervention.

(2) Supply side intervention plus Information provision:
In this intervention, the supply side intervention (see intervention (1) above) will be complemented with a household-level information provision component. Participants in this group will receive information about private and public risks of open defecation. Furthermore, information on the relevance of ensuring females’ safety will be provided and male household members will be encouraged to accompany females when using CTs, particularly at night. In addition, information on the benefits of using CTs and the importance of ensuring that everybody pays the CT fee will be provided. Emphasis will be placed on providing information on the rights of the users when paying fees, including clean and well-maintained toilets, as well as promoting users to ensure maintenance and cleanliness of CTs. Particular attention will be paid in providing information that can be processed by participants. All household members will be targeted, especially household heads and spouse. Information will be provided in four forms:
(i) door-to-door information campaign using a flipchart with cartoons and messages;
(ii) leaving a leaflet with a summary of the flipchart;
(iii) posters placed in the CT, highlighting messages provided during the door-to-door campaign;
(iv) monthly remainders in the form of voice messages, through which we aim to cross-randomize the salience of public and private health risks.
Intervention Start Date
2018-04-18
Intervention End Date
2019-04-18
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Willingness to pay;
2. Sanitation behaviour, with a focus on CT use and open defecation;
3. Demand for cleanliness;
4. CT quality.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Willingness to pay: Elicited separately from the two primary decision-makers per household (hence there are two observations of each outcome per household).
- Incentivized WTP for bundle of 10 tickets to use the nearest CT (using multiple price list and random draw)
- Hypothetical WTP for a ticket to use an improved toilet

2. Sanitation Behaviour: Sanitation practices of the respondents and their family members. In particular, we will focus on survey reports of CT use and open defecation to construct the following indicators :
- All members above 5 years old used CTs the 2 last times
- At least 1 member above 5 years old used CT at least once the last 2 times
- At least 1 member above 5 years old practiced OD at least once the last 2 times
We will further measure CT usage through tallies at the CT at specific times of the day as well as by collecting tickets acquired by HHs in the WTP game.
- Number of users (all, male, female)
- % users that pay (all, male and female)

3. Demand for cleanliness: Eliciting willingness to contribute to cleanliness of the CT through a “donation game”.
- Amount donated out of 50Rs (continuous variable 1-50)

4. CT quality: Quality will be proxied using observations and lab results from samples taken at the CT and captured through:
- Dirtiness index
- Bacteria count
- Bad infrastructure quality index
(The attached pre- analysis plan details the variables to be used in the indexes)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1. Hygiene
2. Health status;
3. Sanitation attitudes, expectations, and knowledge;
4. CT management
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Hygiene: Hygienic practices of the respondents and their family members. In particular, we will focus on survey reports and observations to construct the following indicators
- All members >5 years old washed hands with soap after defecating the last time
- HH dirtiness index
(The Pre- analysis plan, to be published on the lie and IFS website will detail the variables to be used in the indexes)

2. Health status: Health situation of household members (illness status) reported in household surveys:
- At least 1 member had diarrhoea during last 15 days
- At least 1 member had fever during the last 15 days

3. Sanitation attitudes, expectations and knowledge: Priors about sanitation practices and the connection with illnesses and safety, attitudes towards CTs and subjective expectations reported in household surveys:
- Positive CT attitudes index
- Percentage points (ppts) difference in (adults and children) expected illness likelihood when passing from OD to CT
- Ppts difference in (adults and children) expected illness likelihood when passing dirty to clean CT
- Ppts difference in expected female unsafe incidents likelihood when passing from OD to CT
- Sanitation knowledge/awareness of public health risks of inadequate sanitation index
(The attached pre- analysis plan details the variables to be used in the indexes)

4. CT Management: Management of CTs as reported in CT surveys by caretakers:
- % time allocated to clean and/or supervise cleaner
- % time allocated to collect fee
- CT cleaned more than twice per day
- Adequate cleaning index
(The attached pre- analysis plan details the variables to be used in the indexes)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will address these research questions in the context of Indian slums in the cities of Lucknow and Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh, India) using a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) design. Figure 1 shows the study area. We will randomly select 110 catchment areas of CTs in both cities and we will allocate them to one of three experimental arms. Catchment areas will then be allocated to one these three groups:
1. Control
2. Supply-side intervention
3. Supply side intervention plus Information provision

Randomization into these groups will be carried out at the cluster level, specifically the CT catchment area level. Randomizing at the cluster level has the advantage that we can limit contamination of the control group, especially considering the possible spread of the information that will be provided. This is of particular relevance for answering research questions around longer-term behaviour (particularly usage of sanitation facilities).

To allocate clusters to treatment arms, we will stratify the sampled clusters by the main company who owns the CTs (versus other owners) and by city of study (Lucknow and Kanpur). We will then build blocks of 3 CTs using m-distance (Mahalanobis) relative proximity. To construct m-distances, we will make use of the rich census information we collected, including CT and slum-dweller characteristics. After forming blocks of similar clusters (CTs), we will randomly allocate each CT in a block to either treatment 1, treatment 2 or the control group. Each one of the three possibilities will have the same probability.

In our study, a cluster is a CT catchment area. We identified catchment areas by first mapping all CTs in our study cities. Out of these, we chose a subset of CTs to become part of the study, based on the following criteria:
1. The CT has to be pay-to-use;
2. It has to be located close to a residential area (slum) and used by residents.
We drop CTs for which the distance to another CT is limited. In particular, there should be sufficient distance between two CTs to avoid users switching between CTs (possibly driven by their treatment status). We drop CTs that are closer than 300 meters to each other, and CTs that have two other CTs closer than 350 meters.
In addition, we drop CTs in whose catchment areas fewer than eight eligible households are living. A household is considered eligible if the following conditions are respected:
1. The household lives in the catchment area of a selected CT, which is broadly defined as slum area within 250 meters from the CT building. Households are linked to CTs based on geo-coordinates collected during the census.
2. At least one household member uses a CT or shared toilets (i.e. neighbours, makeshift, work, school), or practices open defecation.
3. The household must have reported during the census interview not to intend to migrate during the following 18 months (i.e. until the planned study endline survey). We will focus on these households to reduce the risk of attrition.

Within each of the selected study CTs and their catchment areas, we will sample up to 17 eligible households (if available), aiming for an average of 15 households per cluster. Given that distance is a major determinant of CT usage, we will focus on eligible households living closer to the CT (within 150 meters). Since some CTs have more dispersed populations, we will conduct a two-step sampling procedure. First, in large-population catchment areas (where 10 or more households are available within 150 meters), we will sample only from households that are located within this bound. Second, in small-population CTs (where less than 10 households are available within 150 meters), we will first sample all households within 150 meters and randomly selected the remaining households from those that are located between 150 and 250 meters from the CT. We aim to interview 1,650 households in 110 randomization units (catchment areas of CTs) and one CT caretaker per randomization unit.

The main respondent for the household survey will be an adult household member – likely the household head, spouse or other knowledgeable household member – who should fall in the age range of 18-64 years. We will further interview the spouse of the household head, aiming to collect information on WTP from one male and one female household member. In households with children aged 5 years or younger, we will further interview the primary caregiver to collect information on child health and sanitation practices.
The main respondent for the CTs (supplier survey) will be the caretaker.


Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The statistical software Stata, and specifically the random number generator, will be used to apply this procedure.
Randomization Unit
Randomization into the three experimental groups will be carried out at the cluster level, specifically the CT catchment area level. We provide more detail on the definition in the next section. Randomizing at the cluster level has the advantage that we can limit contamination of the control group, especially considering the possible spread of the information that will be provided. This is of particular relevance for answering research questions around longer-term behaviour (particularly usage of sanitation facilities).

To allocate clusters to treatment arms, we will stratify the sampled clusters by the main company who owns the CTs (versus other owners) and by city of study (Lucknow and Kanpur). We will then build blocks of 3 CTs using m-distance (Mahalanobis) relative proximity. To construct m-distances, we will make use of the rich census information we collected, including CT and slum-dweller characteristics. After forming blocks of similar clusters (CTs), we will randomly allocate each CT in a block to either treatment 1, treatment 2 or the control group. Each one of the three possibilities will have the same probability.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
110 CTs and their catchment area
Sample size: planned number of observations
We aim to interview 1,650 households in the 110 randomization units (catchment areas of CTs) and one CT caretaker per randomization unit.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 39 clusters, 585 households, 39 CT caretakers
Supply only: 36 clusters, 540 households, 36 CT caretakers
Supply+Info: 35 clusters 525 households, 35 CT caretakers
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University College London Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2017-03-23
IRB Approval Number
2168/012