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Incorporating Cultural Context into Safe-Water Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Egypt

Giulia Buccione () and Martín Rossi
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Giulia Buccione: Brown University

No 167, Working Papers from Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia

Abstract: Adoption rates of safe drinking water are low in developing countries. In regions where centralized water treatment infrastructure is absent, the conventional policy response is to enhance access to safe water via point-of-use chlorination. Previous research, however, reports a ceiling in adoption rates of chlorinated water at 50 percent, even when chlorine is provided for free. We report experimental evidence that a cultural-friendly technology, which provides filtered water that resembles local ancestral water, leads to higher adoption rates and willingness to pay than usual chlorinated water provision. We document adoption rates of 91 percent for filtered water, 42 percentage points higher than for chlorinated water. Willingness to pay is 61 percent higher for filtered water compared to chlorinated water. Our findings suggest policymakers should redirect their efforts away from the current mainstream approach of subsidized chlorine and instead explore alternative strategies that consider local communities’ culture and preferences.

Keywords: Middle East; water-borne diseases; field experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D10 I10 Q53 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2023-11, Revised 2023-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-ara, nep-dcm, nep-env and nep-exp
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Downloads: (external link) First version, November 2023 (application/pdf)

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