Access to Clean Water & the Role of Information and Transaction Costs: Field Experimental Evidence from India
Arsenic consumption via water sources can lead to fatal health and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Children are more susceptible to arsenic because of their lower immunity and relatively higher proportion of body water compared to adults. Moreover, evidence suggests that arsenic crosses the placenta and adversely impacts health in utero. The researchers aim to understand the constraints households face in accessing arsenic-free water.
The study will be administered in one of the most contaminated regions of India, in Jorhat district of Assam to households with women of childbearing age, pregnant women and/or with young children. Although piped water connections are available from a government surface water scheme, approximately 60% of rural households in Jorhat still access water from arsenic-contamined borewells or tube wells. The researchers propose a cluster RCT to identify barriers to take-up of piped water connections: households in the first treatment arm will receive information about arsenic contamination. Households in the second treatment arm will receive information about arsenic contamination as well as information about the procedure and costs of getting a piped water connection, and assistance filling out the required application. Households in the control arm will receive neither the information about arsenic contamination nor the application assistance.