The Indus valley civilisation (c.2,000 BCE) coupled on-plot water supply from wells with the first known sewers. However, it was the Minoans (also c.2,000 BCE) who were the first to have piped water systems – I marvelled at the clay pipes and stone sewers at Knossos on Crete. The Minoans understood that piped water on… Continue reading Incremental benefits from increases in sanitation service level
The Daudey 2017 paper (open access) I reviewed in this blog has a useful table (p.7) of 9 determinants of urban sanitation costs. I would tend to group them more simply into three headings as below - I won't go into these more here as the table in the paper is good. 1. Technology: technology type,… Continue reading Determinants of urban sanitation costs – ‘willingness to connect’ and scale effects
A review paper (open access) on the costs of urban sanitation came out last year. Authored by Loïc Daudey (now of AFD but then a consultant for WSUP) it surveys the literature on lifecycle costs of full chain chain systems in Africa and Asia. I found it very useful for my purposes so thought I'd write a quick review.… Continue reading What do we know about urban sanitation costs? (a review of Daudey, 2017)
UNPD brought out their 2017 update to World Population Prospects (WPP) last summer. One striking graph from that got me digging into the data into the 2014 World Urbanisation Prospects (WUP) data. This may seem slightly off-topic for a WASH economics blog, but understanding population trends is crucial in economics. For costing purposes, you'll often find yourself multiplying a… Continue reading The future is urban, the future is African (and implications for sanitation)
I often hear people say "sanitation is a public good". This is broadly true, in my view, but as with many things, it's a bit more complicated than that. A toilet (≠ sanitation) is a private good / asset. It is "rival", meaning you can't use it at the same time as someone else (in the same… Continue reading Sanitation as a public good and private asset
Wikipedia's definition of economics is, partly, "a social science concerned with the factors that determine the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.” While that is accurate, I prefer Robbins' definition that it is the study of "human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses". What then, is WASH economics?… Continue reading What is WASH economics?
I first got interested in health economics about 10 years ago when reading various chapters of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries (DCP2) - its third edition is currently being worked on. Ranking interventions by cost-effectiveness is a compelling way to frame discussions about prioritisation. See for example the graphic below, which comes from p.41 of this chapter of DCP2. It… Continue reading To what should we compare the economic performance of WASH interventions?
The more I read on health economics, the more I realise how far WASH economics is "behind", especially on economic evaluation. I mean this in terms of methods, the extent/level of debate on key questions, and the size/engagement of the community of people working on it. The "how" question (in what ways it is behind,… Continue reading Why is WASH economics so far behind health economics?
A few weeks ago I started an economics PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, after The topic is an economic evaluation of an urban sanitation intervention in Maputo, Mozambique. I'll be estimating cost-effectiveness of the shared sanitation programme led by Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) in Maputo. After… Continue reading A PhD on urban sanitation economics