Cristina Bicchieri, School of Arts & Sciences Initiating a Large-scale Sociocentric Network Study to understand the Open Defecation “Puzzle” in India
Basic Page Sidebar Menu Penn Global
Full Project Title
Social Norms, Behavioral Change and Sanitation: Initiating a Large-scale Sociocentric Network Study to understand the Open Defecation “Puzzle” in India
Philosophy, School of Arts and Sciences
In order to understand and potentially influence the social dynamic of common behaviors, researchers and policy-makers need to grasp “the social component of behaviors”; that is, the interaction between social norms, social networks and individual behaviors. Mapping out who matters, more technically the reference network, is essential to diagnosing the motivational profile of a behavior and the dynamics of social change in a community. We propose an innovative project to map the full network in four villages of two Indian states, Bihar and Tamil Nadu – something not available from any past surveys –which provides the strongest, most information rich, understanding of the determinants of sanitation practices. Mapping full networks will allow us to understand who the influencers are, but also track the flow of information and behavior change. This is crucial for designing behavioral change interventions and especially important in India, where the majority of the population defecates in the open, and previous interventions, which disregarded the role of social networks and social norms, have shown limited success. The proposed project is innovative in its study design and substantive contribution. Its results will help achieve the open-defecation goal in India established by the Indian government and inform behavior change public policy in other settings.