Publication Date: February 2021
Recent literature suggests the power of interventions to change habits. In a dense slum in Nairobi, we adopt best practices from the habit literature to encourage toilet use instead of alternatives that damage community health. Oﬀering subsidies increased toilet usage, eﬀects continue for one month after discounts end, but erode thereafter. Treatments designed to induce habit formation (marketing, time-limited discounts encouraging repetition, discounts for longer periods, targeting `habitual types’) generated no greater persistence. We see some persistent behavior change due to learning about the new toilet option. It appears diﬀicult to induce pro-social behavior without private beneﬁts through habit change.
Keywords: Behavioral Economics, Habit Formation, Kenya, Sanitation
JEL Classification Codes: D91, O12