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Organizado por Departamento de Economía

Pipe Dreams: Enforcing Payment for Water and Sanitation Services in Nairobi’s Slums

  • Fechas:

    Del 28/07/20 al 28/07/20

  • Lugar:

    11:45 a 13hs, Transmisión online, Victoria, Argentina (mapa)

Web del evento

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Ciclo de Seminarios Permanentes



Sebastian Galiani (University of Maryland)


Fecha y hora

Martes 28 de julio de 11:45 a 13:00 hs


Transmisión por Zoom 

Por favor ingresen con su nombre completo y sus micrófonos apagados.

A las/os inscriptas/os se les enviará el link de Zoom unos minutos antes del comienzo del seminario.


Pipe Dreams: Enforcing Payment for Water and Sanitation Services in Nairobi’s Slums


Most of the recent focus in the delivery of public utility services has been on last mile connections to water, sewerage and electricity grids. However, the high frequency of nonpayment for services associated with this expansion has created a fiscal crisis for public utilities and has forced utilities to ration services. Public utilities afraid that service disconnections will have political consequences are reluctant to enforce payment with service cutoff. We test this hypothesis using a field experiment in the slums of Nairobi with two interventions intended to improve repayment for water and sewage services: a soft encouragement that informs tenants about landlord’s payment delinquency and, second, a hard threat of disconnection for nonpayment with enforcement if landlords do not pay. While we find no effect of the soft encouragement intervention, we find very large effects of the disconnection intervention on repayment. Moreover, there seems to be no effect on landlord and tenant perceptions of utility fairness or quality of service delivery, on community activism, on the relationships of tenants with their landlords, or on child health. To counterbalance the effective increase in utility fees paid, landlords increase their rental income by both renting out additional space in their compounds and by marginally increasing tenant rents. These results suggest that strict enforcement through disconnections increases payment and the financial position of the utility without incurring potential political costs.

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