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Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco

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  • Florencia Devoto
  • Esther Duflo
  • Pascaline Dupas
  • William Pariente
  • Vincent Pons

Abstract

We study the demand for household water connections in urban Morocco, and the effect of such connections on household welfare. In the northern city of Tangiers, among homeowners without a private connection to the city’s water grid, a random subset was offered a simplified procedure to purchase a household connection on credit (at a zero percent interest rate). Take-up was high, at 69%. Because all households in our sample had access to the water grid through free public taps (often located fairly close to their homes), household connections did not lead to any improvement in the quality of the water households consumed; and despite significant increase in the quantity of water consumed, we find no change in the incidence of waterborne illnesses. Nevertheless, we find that households are willing to pay a substantial amount of money to have a private tap at home. Being connected generates important time gains, which are used for leisure and social activities, rather than productive activities. Because water is often a source of tension between households, household connections improve social integration and reduce conflict. Overall, within 6 months, self-reported well-being improved substantially among households in the treatment group, despite the financial cost of the connection. Our results suggest that facilitating access to credit for households to finance lump sum quality-of-life investments can significantly increase welfare, even if those investments do not result in income or health gains.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16933.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16933

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  1. Matias Cattaneo & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Sebastian Martinez & Rocio Titiunik, 2008. "Housing, Health and Happiness," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0074, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  2. Nava Ashraf & James Berry & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2007. "Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia," NBER Working Papers 13247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Short-Run Subsidies and Long-Run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers id:2498, eSocialSciences.
  4. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 83-120, February.
  5. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti & Khan, Shakeeb & Timmins, Christopher, 2010. "The impact of piped water provision on infant mortality in Brazil: A quantile panel data approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 188-200, July.
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  1. Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-04-25 13:21:43
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Cited by:
  1. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske & Anant Nyshadham, 2014. "Early Life Circumstance and Mental Health in Ghana," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Okeke, Edward N. & Adepiti, Clement A. & Ajenifuja, Kayode O., 2013. "What is the price of prevention? New evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 207-218.
  3. Taryn Dinkelman & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Migration, congestion externalities, and the evaluation of spatial investments," Working Papers 700, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Michael Greenstone & B. Kelsey Jack, 2013. "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field," NBER Working Papers 19426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yonas Alem & Jonathan Colmer, 2013. "Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The Welfare Cost of Climate Variability – A Subjective Well-Being Approach," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 118, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  6. Kosec, Katrina, 2013. "The child health implications of privatizing Africa’s urban water supply:," IFPRI discussion papers 1269, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments," NBER Working Papers 17255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cho, Yoon Y. & Kalomba, Davie & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Orozco, Victor, 2013. "Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-Out Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 7408, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Jennifer M. Meredith & Jonathan Robinson & Sarah Walker & Bruce Wydick, 2013. "Keeping the Doctor Away: Experimental Evidence on Investment in Preventative Health Products," NBER Working Papers 19312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Steffen Huck & Georg Weizsäcker, 2010. "Beliefs and Actions in the Trust Game: Creating Instrumental Variables to Estimate the Causal Effect," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 969, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Elena Gross & Isabel Günther & Youdi Schipper, 2013. "Women: Walking and Waiting for Water The Time Value of Public Water Supply," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 134, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  12. Laura Metzger & Isabel Günther, 2013. "Analyzing Effectiveness of Development Aid Projects: Evaluation Ratings or Project Indicators?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 154, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  13. Tobias Lechtenfeld, 2012. "Why does piped water not reduce diarrhea for children? Evidence from urban Yemen," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 119, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  14. Esther Duflo, 2011. "Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 17702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Nguyen Viet, Cuong, 2011. "Does Piped Water Improve Household Welfare? Evidence from Vietnam," MPRA Paper 40776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Alem, Yonas & Colmer, Jonathan, 2013. "Optimal Expectations and the Welfare Cost of Climate Variability," Working Papers in Economics 578, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  17. Whittington, Dale & Jeuland, Marc & Barker, Kate & Yuen, Yvonne, 2012. "Setting Priorities, Targeting Subsidies among Water, Sanitation, and Preventive Health Interventions in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1546-1568.

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