Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics

Delhi School of Economics




Water Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink? Information & Enabling Access to Clean Water in India


Rashmi Barua
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
Prarthna Agarwal Goel
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, 

Sujatha Srinivasan
LEAD at KREA University


(Thursday, June 1, 2023, 3:15 PM IST)
Venue: Amex Room 


In a rural region of India, where groundwater is heavily contaminated with a hazardous naturally occurring compound, we worked with state government agencies to study the constraints households with young children and pregnant mothers face in accessing clean water. The study randomly assigned a set of villages to an information treatment to raise awareness about water contaminants and provided information about alternative safe water sources. A second treatment combined awareness with measures to facilitate access to clean water via the flagship program of Government of India; the Jal Jeevan Mission. Our results indicate that the information campaign alone was sufficient to increase awareness of contaminants and adoption of preventive health measures. However, to translate this increased awareness into actual change in demand for clean water, the combined treatment was salient. Further, the combined treatment led to an increase in breastfeeding (planned) duration among (pregnant) mothers possibly because it enabled women to weigh the costs and benefits of drinking contaminated water.

JEL: Codes: C93; I10; I12; I18
Keywords: randomized controlled trial; water contamination; arsenic information; transaction costs; children; pregnancy

All are cordially invited.

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