I've been working on costing a few programmes recently where the intervention happened between 3-10 years ago. Both used household surveys asking people what they spent (in cash and in kind) towards the original infrastructure output (CapEx), towards regular operational and maintenance (OpEx) and irregular capital maintenance (CapManEx). It's got me thinking about the various… Continue reading Recall bias and cost data
In welfare economics, “preferences” denote which alternative goods or services someone would choose, based on the relative “utility” provided by each (more on utility another time). For example, when presented with a box of chocolates, my first choice is always a praline (P). But if only marzipan fruits (M) and brazil nut caramels (B) were… Continue reading Preferences and constraints – when does container-based sanitation address the binding constraint to uptake?
There has been a fair amount of debate on the role of shared sanitation in urban settings recently, see e.g. this comment piece from various stakeholders, this paper (plus others) from Sheillah Simiyu and this one from Marieke Heijnen. Also, WSUP recently issued an RFP for multi-country research on shared sanitation. In my own little… Continue reading Categorisation of shared sanitation – some city-wide data using one approach
I went to an interesting event at LSHTM last night run by Countdown 2030, on tracking aid flows to track global aid flows to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). Their dataset is here. Yet another reminder that the health sector is way ahead of the WASH sector on so many analytical questions, but… Continue reading Sanitation’s share of water sector aid is falling
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 post 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, level… 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, but it's also complicated. A toilet (≠ sanitation) is a private good / asset. It is partially "rival", meaning you can't use it at the same time as someone else (in the same way you use a park, motorway or public… 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". WASH is water supply, sanitation… Continue reading What is WASH economics?