Value is a critical concept in economics and philosophy. Economics is a discipline concerned with resource allocation informed by the value placed on alternative uses of those resources. In welfarist economics, value is taken as the strength of preference for a good or service (Brouwer et al., 2008). In that paradigm, strength of preference can… Continue reading The intrinsic and instrumental value of water & sanitation
Is WASH economics a 'field'? This post explores ways of breaking down the “field” of WASH economics. On the one hand, one can argue that WASH economics doesn’t exist as a coherent field. After all, most people actually working on WASH economics questions are in the field of engineering and/or public health. There are fairly… Continue reading Economist-engineers and public health economists: is WASH economics a “field”?
[I was chuffed to be joint winner in the ESRC 'Better Lives' writing competition with the below piece intended for a general audience. The Guardian published an abridged version. Deadlines are 80% of writing, for me at least... so I would recommend competitions like this for forcing oneself to write to a hard deadline for public… Continue reading Better lives with better toilets – SanQoL translated for public engagement
In a previous post I explored the concept of sanitation-related quality of life (SanQoL). In that post I distinguished between “quality of service” (and/or infrastructure) and quality of life. The present post expands a bit on that distinction. 1. Different ways of measuring "quality" Consider these three questions for assessing the concept of privacy: [observe]… Continue reading Quality of Service vs. Quality of Life – ways of measuring sanitation outcomes
Introduction Since investment options are always compared under a budget constraint, economic evaluation aims to inform unavoidable decisions and support allocative efficiency. Various economic evaluation methods (such as cost-effectiveness analysis and cost-benefit analysis) compare costs and consequences of alternative interventions. Improvements in sanitation can impact on health, and it is typically health outcomes such as averted… Continue reading Using the concept of ‘sanitation-related quality of life’ (SanQoL) to measure what is valued by users
Seeing a paper published a few weeks ago in Nature Communications (more on that below) reminded me of some reading I did last year on WASH and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and got me thinking about the economics of this. What is AMR? Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms adapt after exposure to antimicrobial drugs (e.g.… Continue reading The economics of antimicrobial resistance and the role of water and sanitation services
An update to the WHO-led systematic review of the ‘Impact of drinking water, sanitation and handwashing with soap on childhood diarrhoeal disease’ by Wolf et al. (2018) was published in TMIH in May. I re-read it last week with a water supply hat on, and was interested to see how they’ve improved on the 2014… Continue reading Water supply & diarrhoea – latest systematic review and economic implications
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?