Evaluating Interventions for Public Infrastructure Maintenance and Usage

In their recent study (2021), professors Alex Armand, Britta Augsburg, and Antonella Bancalari examine whether externally incentivizing maintenance can sustainably improve the quality of public infrastructure using interventions adopted for maintaining community toilets in India.

Two different types of interventions were analyzed. Firstly, the ‘maintenance’ intervention which offered a one-off grant at the facility level, followed by a significant bimonthly financial reward to the facility’s caretaker or the person in charge of its maintenance (40% of the caretakers’ monthly salary, conditional on keeping the facility clean). The second type was ‘maintenance plus sensitization’, supplementing the maintenance intervention with an intensive sensitization campaign to raise awareness among potential users about the importance of a well-kept facility and of avoiding free riding to support good services.

It was observed that the maintenance intervention led to improvements in the observed quality of facilities, accompanied by a significant reduction in free riding among users, but incentivizing maintenance had no impact on the value use and attitudes of potential users. As for the other intervention, it was found that the sensitization campaign alone had no effects other than increasing overall health awareness among users.

The column also sheds light on policymakers’ decisions on financing interventions and draws out pertinent policy implications for various approaches.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted by at 9:20 AM

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