Water and Economic Growth
AbstractSeveral hydrological studies forecast a global problem of water scarcity. This raises the question as to whether increasing water scarcity may impose constraints on the growth of countries. The influence of water utilization on economic growth is depicted through a growth model that includes this congestible public good as a productive input for private producers. Growth is negatively affected by the government's appropriation of output to supply water but positively influenced by the contribution of increased water use to capital productivity, leading to an inverted-U relationship between economic growth and the rate of water utilization. Crosscountry estimations confirm this relationship and suggest that for most economies current rates of freshwater utilization are not yet constraining growth. However, for a handful of countries, moderate or extreme water scarcity may affect economic growth adversely. Nevertheless, even for water-scarce countries, there appears to be little evidence that there are severe diminishing returns to allocating more output to provide water, thus resulting in falling income per capita. These results suggest caution over the claims of some hydrological-based studies of a widespread global "water crisis".
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies in its series Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers with number 2002-28.
Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Congestible public goods; cross-country regressions; economic growth; freshwater; water scarcity.;
Other versions of this item:
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- O13 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
- O41 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
- Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
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