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Reprint of: Sewage Pollution and Institutional and Technological Change in the United States, 1830-1915

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  • Paavola, Jouni
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    Abstract

    This article examines institutions for water pollution control and their interaction with water supply and sanitation technologies in the United States before the First World War. The article discusses how growth of settlements polluted waters and created pressure to adopt local institutional responses and networked water supply and sewerage technologies in the mid-19th century. However, the new urban technologies undermined local institutional responses and expanded the scale of water pollution problems they were expected to resolve. Water companies, households and local governments litigated their water pollution conflicts in the courts in the absence of other alternatives. In the end of the 19th century, many states adopted water pollution policies. At first, public health authorities enforced the new policies to protect public water supplies from sewage contamination. However, when the effectiveness of filtration and chlorination of drinking water was demonstrated in the early 20th century, public health authorities ceased to enforce discharge prohibitions and instead pressured water companies to adopt the new technological measures to protect public health.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-51NTKM2-2/2/fd67c0f0b98ac2c861733b38eb4df133
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 7 (May)
    Pages: 1289-1296

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:7:p:1289-1296

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Co-evolution Water pollution Water supply Water pollution policy United States;

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    1. Eggertsson,Thrainn, 1990. "Economic Behavior and Institutions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521348911, October.
    2. Vatn, Arild, 2005. "Rationality, institutions and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 203-217, November.
    3. Vatn, Arild, 2009. "An institutional analysis of methods for environmental appraisal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2207-2215, June.
    4. Robert W. Fogel, 1986. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality Since 1700: Some Additional Preliminary Findings," NBER Working Papers 1802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Paavola, Jouni & Adger, W. Neil, 2005. "Institutional ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 353-368, May.
    6. Robert W. Fogel, 1984. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality Since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Working Papers 1402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kallis, Giorgos, 2010. "Coevolution in water resource development: The vicious cycle of water supply and demand in Athens, Greece," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 796-809, February.
    8. Paavola, Jouni, 2007. "Institutions and environmental governance: A reconceptualization," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 93-103, June.
    9. Kallis, Giorgos, 2007. "When is it coevolution?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-6, April.
    10. Meeker, Edward, 1974. "The Social Rate of Return on Investment in Public Health, 1880–1910," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 392-421, June.
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