Street vendors, incentives and self-regulation: a field study in urban India, with D. Tommasi and S. Mookerjee, Review of Economics and Statistics 2020
The street food market is a major source of food in developing countries, but is often characterized by unsafe food conditions.
We investigate whether improvements in food safety can be achieved by providing information to vendors in the form of a training.
Among randomly assigned groups of streetfood vendors in Kolkata, India, we find large improvements in knowledge and awareness, but little change in their observed behavior.
We provide suggestive evidence that a combination of both lack of demand for food safety and perceived high costs of hygienic practices for vendors, are likely to drive the results. We conclude that information is not the key constraint in this context.