Nudge, Don’t Shove: A Case for Reflexive WASH Behavioral Change, Part II

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Behavioural change is a crucial site for WASH interventions, and inPart II've argued that practitioners should focus upon reflexive behavioural influences instead of reflective ones. While existing WASH behavioural change strategies are based upon public health models that target reflective behaviour, I've suggested that we turn towards behavioural economics for reflexive behavioural insight. That said, not all behavioural economics studies are strictly about reflexive behaviour. The field itself is shaped in refutation of rational choice theory, and consists of diverse studies unified by their interest in deviations from traditional economics. Behavioural economics cannot be directly mapped onto WASH behavioural change, and what I seek to do here is to elucidate paths for action research rather than prescribe ways of applying behavioural economics to WASH. The fundamental tenet of behavioural economics is that context matters. WASH interventions must therefore develop from the site-specific findings of action research, and eschew a copy-and-paste approach to behavioural economics studies.

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