How can policymakers solve the problem of non-payment of utility bills while still maintaining access to water and sanitation services?

Editors’ note: This podcast was updated on 25.08.2020

In the developing world, urban settings often struggle to provide basic needs, including water and sanitation. Often, the challenge lies in the cost of the last mile between the main infrastructure and individual households. In this VoxDev talk, Paul Gertler discusses an innovative experiment targeted at improving payment of utility bills in slums in Nairobi, Kenya. The researchers find that shaming landlords who failed to pay their bills did not subsequently increase payments. However, a credible threat of cutting water services was enough to ensure that landlords made their utility payments.

Read "Pipe dreams: Enforcing payment for water and sanitation services in Nairobi’s slums" by Aidan Coville, Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler, and Susumu Yoshida here.

Water Sanitation Utility bills Landlords Slums Kenya Non-payment Urbanisation