the WASH sector

My and others’ WASH economics sessions at #UNCwaterandhealth 2019


I’ve just arrived at the UNC Water and Health conference 2019 this week (verbal abstracts book here). I have three verbal presentations, a poster, and am involved in a side-event. Short summaries are below. Further below, I highlight others’ economics-related presentations/sessions that I’m looking forward to seeing.

All my stuff is on Thursday… but please talk to me about SanQoL at any other time!  If you have time for just one of my bits and pieces, please come to the verbal on cost-effectiveness, Thurs 1600 in Azalea. It’s the piece of work I’d most like critique on, as it’s the headline output of my PhD.

My verbal presentations:

Title: “Cost-effectiveness Analysis of a Sanitation Intervention with a Quality of Life Measure as the Outcome” (Thurs 1600 in Azalea, 1st up)

One-sentence abstract: An overview of ‘sanitation-related quality of life’ (SanQoL), and an empirical study in Mozambique of how SanQoL can be used to weight ‘quality-adjusted service years’ (QASYs), for better economic evaluation of sanitation programmes.

Title: “Human Waste of Time—Valuing Open Defecation Time Savings” (Thurs 1600 in Azalea, 2nd up)

One-sentence abstract: An exploration of how we should value ‘time saved’ when people switch from OD to household toilets, using data from the 2013 SQUAT survey in India, because how we do this makes a big difference to results of cost-benefit analysis.

Title: “Three-Quarters of People in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Get Their Drinking Water from Private Providers” (Thurs 1430 in Redbud, 2nd up)

One-sentence abstract: Demonstrating a “water flow diagram” for visualisation of flows of water and money in a city-wide water market, through a mixed-methods study of private water providers in Port-au-Prince.

My poster

Title: “How does sanitation contribute to a good life? Qualitative research in urban Mozambique informing quantitative measure development” (Thurs 1700)

One-sentence abstract: Results of the qualitative study (yes, economists do proper qual…) that informed the development of the SanQoL measure, using focus groups and in-depth interviews in low-income areas of Mozambique.

Side-event I’m involved in

Title: “An Agenda Setting Workshop for “Limited” (Shared) Sanitation: User Experiences, Measurement, and Improvement Approaches” (Thurs 1030 in Redbud)

One-sentence abstract: starting with a “quick fire” format (presenters have 1 slide / 5 mins each), the meat of the session will be focused on the creation of a research agenda for the role of shared sanitation in bringing safely managed sanitation to all.

Others’ WASH economics verbals and side-events

The best thing about the UNC conference is that, when I look at the agenda, I want to go to almost everything. If you take a broad definition of WASH economics (as I do here) then a lot of the sessions/papers at UNC will touch on it. So here’s just a few of the other WASH economics verbals/sessions I’m looking forward to. There’s some interesting-looking posters too.


  • “An Evidence-driven Approach to Establishing Prices for Pit Emptying Services by Vacuum Truck Operators” Bernard Elegbe, ABMS/PSI – looks like a cool application of “mystery shopper” techniques to FSM services. Mon 1430, Dogwood
  • “Using Public Subsidy to Unlock Household Finance: Evidence from the Field” Lesley Pories, – using RCT data to explore how households used sanitation microfinance loans. Mon 1430, Dogwood
  • “Findings from the Implementation of the First Cross-culturally Validated Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale in Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo” Sera Young, Northwestern University – I’ve read a lot about HWISE so looking forward to seeing its empirical use. It’s exciting to see a user-reported measure for water that does a lot of what I’m trying to do with SanQoL. Tues 1430, Redbud
  • “Time, Economic and Health Benefits of the Transition to Rural Piped Water Systems in Southern Zambia” James Winter, Stanford University – interesting approaches to measuring the benefits of water supply interventions using matched controls. Weds 1600, Dogwood
  • “Supply and Demand: Assessing Costs and Willingness-to-pay for Urban Sanitation in Bangladesh, Ghana, and Kenya” Rachel Peletz, Aquaya Institute – have been looking forward to seeing these results for a while, which represent one of the several important initiatives underway on urban sanitation costing. Thurs 1430, Redbud (and helpfully just before my Haiti verbal)


  • “Revisiting Subsidies for Water Supply and Sanitation Services” – the recent World Bank flagship report on subsidies, incl.  debates around allocation of subsidies between service types and between ‘new’ access vs. consumption. Tues 1030, Bellflower
  • “Understanding Demand for WaSH Services: How Much are Consumers Willing to Pay?” – should be a good debate on WTP methods with example of vouchers, auctions, hedonic pricing, contingent valuation, and discrete choice experiments. Weds 0830, Dogwood
  • “The Maputo Sanitation (MapSan) Trial: Measuring Health, Environmental, and Social Impacts of an Urban Sanitation Intervention in Mozambique” – long-awaited results of the MapSan trial, the largest controlled health impact trial of an urban sanitation intervention to date (OK it’s not strictly speaking econ, but it’s the study my PhD is linked to, and incredibly interesting…). Weds 1030, Redbud


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