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Economic Inequality and the Urban Environment: The Case of Water and Sanitation

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  • Johnstone, Nick

Abstract

This paper looks at the relationship between economic inequality and urban environmental quality in developing countries, with specific reference to the provision of water and sanitation services. The paper explores the consequences of “dual” systems, in which a proportion of a city’s residents are served by subsidised “town” water and sanitation facilities, whilst another section of the city has been forced to develop a variety of “on-site” strategies through their own efforts. A number of conclusions are reached: firstly, it is argued that poorer households are generally more adversely affected by low levels of provision and that standard project evaluation techniques perpetuate this bias; secondly, the cost structure of service provision implies that equal access to a standardised system is more efficient than the differentiated levels of access and treatment which prevail; and, thirdly, it is argued that access to water and sanitation and the means by which such systems are financed can be one of the most significant and effective means of distributing resources in the urban context.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/24141
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Institute for Environment and Development, Environmental Economics Programme in its series Discussion Papers with number 24141.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iieddp:24141

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Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development; Consumer/Household Economics;

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  1. Whittington, Dale, et al, 1990. "Estimating the Willingness to Pay for Water Services in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Use of Contingent Valuation Surveys in Southern Haiti," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 293-311, January.
  2. Quiggin, John, 1993. "Common property, equality, and development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1123-1138, July.
  3. McGuire, Martin C & Aaron, Henry J, 1969. "Efficiency and Equity in the Optimal Supply of a Public Good," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(1), pages 31-39, February.
  4. James Boyce, 1994. "Inequality as a Cause of Environmental Degradation," Published Studies ps1, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  5. Broad, Robin, 1994. "The poor and the environment: Friends or foes?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 811-822, June.
  6. Bengt Kristrom & Pere Riera, 1996. "Is the income elasticity of environmental improvements less than one?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(1), pages 45-55, January.
  7. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Thomas M. Selden, 1992. "Stoking the Fires? Co2 Emissions and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cairncross, Sandy & Kinnear, Joanne, 1992. "Elasticity of demand for water in Khartoum, Sudan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 183-189, January.
  9. Maler, Karl-Goran, 1985. "Welfare economics and the environment," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-60 Elsevier.
  10. Boyce, James K., 1994. "Inequality as a cause of environmental degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 169-178, December.
  11. Opschoor, J. (Hans) B., 1995. "Ecospace and the fall and rise of throughput intensity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 137-140, November.
  12. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
  13. Fraas, Arthur G. & Munley, Vincent G., 1984. "Municipal wastewater treatment cost," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 28-38, March.
  14. Shafik, Nemat, 1994. "Economic Development and Environmental Quality: An Econometric Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 757-73, Supplemen.
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