The study, in partnership with the Municipal Administration and Water Supply of Tamil Nadu, is aimed at helping the government develop a market driven user-fee based contractual arrangement for public toilets which will motivate operators to maintain effective service quality, while at the same time reduce the government's financial burden. The study design offers operators different levels of user fees bundled with appropriate fixed compensation. This experiment will help the government evaluate whether user fees should be adopted (and if so, at what level), determine the reductions in fixed financial payments to the contractors, and understand the impact on consumer welfare -- with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer use of public toilets.
Starting in Spring 2018, J-PAL South Asia, in close collaboration with the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), will conduct a full-scale impact evaluation that will inform the privatization of toilet operations and inspections. The research team will independently monitor and inspect approximately 660 toilets, administer detailed surveys, and collect data on toilet service quality, use, user satisfaction, financial sustainability, and savings to the corporation to provide information and recommendations on the effectiveness of tendering and viability of user fees as a model for public toilets.