New Yale study proves methods of Max Foundation

A new Yale study proves the method of Max Foundation. A combination of community motivation and subsidies targeted to the poor is the most effective way to increase toilet ownership and use in developing countries, according to a new study from The Yale School of Management published in the journal Science.

Some insights:

  • Research in rural Bangladesh on different marketing treatments—community motivation and information; subsidies; a supply-side market access intervention; and a control—in a cluster-randomized trial
  • The behavior change plus subsidy program increased toilet access by 9.4% relative to the control group; increased ownership by 20%, suggesting that some households that had been sharing toilets moved to individual ownership; and reduced open defecation by 22%. The behavior change program alone had no effect on toilet ownership, nor did the supplier intervention.
  • The results also show that the decision to invest in a toilet happens at the community level
  • “Subsidies are not as effective when the programs are targeted to individuals,” says Mobarak. “When a lot of people are subsidized together, that’s when individuals actually move. It’s more effective to go into a village and run programs that target the whole community jointly, and pay attention to the fact that people’s investment decisions are interlinked.”

 Details of study can be found on the website of Science Magazine and Yale School of Management.

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