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Community Matters Heterogeneous Impacts of a Sanitation Intervention

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Document pages: 68 pages

Abstract: We study the effectiveness of a community-level information interventionaimed at improving sanitation using a cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT)in Nigerian communities. The intervention, Community-Led Total Sanitation(CLTS), is currently part of national sanitation policy in more than 25countries. While average impacts are exiguous almost three years afterimplementation at scale, the results hide important heterogeneity: theintervention has strong and lasting effects on sanitation practices in poorercommunities. These are realized through increased sanitation investments. Weshow that community wealth, widely available in secondary data, is a keystatistic for effective intervention targeting. Using data from five othersimilar randomized interventions in various contexts, we find thatcommunity-level wealth heterogeneity can rationalize the wide range of impactestimates in the literature. This exercise provides plausible external validityto our findings, with implications for intervention scale-up. JEL Codes: O12,I12, I15, I18.

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