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Has private participation in water and sewerage improved coverage? Empirical evidence from Latin America

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  • George R.G. Clarke

    (Eastern Europe and Central Asia-Private Sector Department at the World Bank, Washington DC, USA)

  • Katrina Kosec

    (Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, USA)

  • Scott Wallsten

    (Progress & Freedom Foundation, Washington DC, USA)

Abstract

Introducing private sector participation (PSP) into the water and sewerage sectors is difficult and controversial. Empirical studies on its effects are scant and generally inconclusive. Case studies tend to find improvements following privatisation, but they suffer from selection bias and it is difficult to generalise their results. To explore empirically the effects of private sector participation on coverage, we assemble a new dataset of connections to water and sewerage services at the city and province level based on household surveys in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. The household surveys, conducted over a number of years, allow us to compile data before and after the introduction of private sector participation as well as from similar (control) regions did not privatise. Our analysis reveals that, in general, the share of households connected to piped water and sewerage improved following the introduction of private sector participation, consistent with the case study literature. We also find, however, that the share of households connected similarly improved in the control regions, suggesting that private sector participation, per se, may not have been responsible for those improvements. Results are similar when looking only at the poorest households. The share of poor households connected to piped water and sewerage increased similarly in areas both with and without private sector participation, suggesting that-in terms of connections at least-private sector participation did not harm the poor. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 21 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 327-361

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:21:y:2009:i:3:p:327-361

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/5102/home

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  1. Estache, Antonio & Kouassi, Eugene, 2002. "Sector organization, governance, and the inefficiency of African water utilities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2890, The World Bank.
  2. Peter T. Robbins, 2003. "Transnational corporations and the discourse of water privatization," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(8), pages 1073-1082.
  3. Anwandter, Lars & Ozuna, Teofilo Jr., 2002. "Can public sector reforms improve the efficiency of public water utilities?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 687-700, October.
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  5. Clarke, George R. G. & Gebreab, Frew A. & Mgombelo, Henry R., 2003. "Telecommunications reform in Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3036, The World Bank.
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  7. Komives, Kristin & Whittington, Dale & Wu, Xun, 2001. "Infrastructure coverage and the poor : the global perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2551, The World Bank.
  8. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Does piped water reduce diarrhea for children in rural India ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2664, The World Bank.
  9. Azam, Jean-Paul & Dia, Magueye & N'Guessan, Tchetche, 2002. "Telecommunications sector reforms in Senegal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2894, The World Bank.
  10. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
  11. David McKenzie & Dilip Mookherjee, 2003. "The Distributive Impact of Privatization in Latin America: Evidence from Four Countries," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  12. Antonio Estache, 1994. "World Development Report: Infrastructure for Development," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44144, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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