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Unpackaging demand for water service quality : evidence from conjoint surveys in Sri Lanka

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Author Info

  • Yang, Jui-Chen
  • Pattanayak, Subhrendu K.
  • Jonson, F. Reed
  • Mansfield, Carol
  • van den Berg, Caroline
  • Jones, Kelly

Abstract

In the early 2000s, the Government of Sri Lanka considered engaging private sector operators to manage water and sewerage services in two separate service areas: one in the town of Negombo (north of Colombo), and one stretching along the coastal strip (south from Colombo) from the towns of Kalutara to Galle. Since then, the government has abandoned the idea of setting up a public-private partnership in these two areas. This paper is part of a series of investigations to determine how these pilot private sector transactions (forming part of the overall water sector reform strategy) could be designed in such a manner that they would benefit the poor. The authors describe the results of a conjoint survey evaluating the factors that drive customer demand for alternative water supply and sanitation services in Sri Lanka. They show how conjoint surveys can be used to unpackage household demand for attributes of urban services and improve the design of infrastructure policies. They present conjoint surveys as a tool for field experiments and a source of valuable empirical data. In the study of three coastal towns in southwestern Sri Lanka the conjoint survey allows the authors to compare household preferences for four water supply attributes-price, quantity, safety, and reliability. They examine subpopulations of different income levels to determine if demand is heterogeneous. The case study suggests that households care about service quality (not just price). In general, the authors find that households have diverse preferences in terms of quantity, safety, and service options, but not with regard to hours of supply. In particular, they find that the poor have lower ability to trade off income for services, a finding that has significant equity implications in terms of allocating scarce public services and achieving universal water access.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3817.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3817

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Related research

Keywords: Town Water Supply and Sanitation; Water and Industry; Economic Theory&Research; Water Use; Water Supply and Sanitation Governance and Institutions;

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References

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  1. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. David Revelt & Kenneth Train, 1998. "Mixed Logit With Repeated Choices: Households' Choices Of Appliance Efficiency Level," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 647-657, November.
  3. Daniel McFadden & Kenneth Train, 2000. "Mixed MNL models for discrete response," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 447-470.
  4. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D., 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304.
  5. Antonio Estache & V. Foster & Q. Wodon, 2002. "Accounting for Poverty in Infrastructure Reform: Learning from Latin America's Experience," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44108, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Anders Karlstrom, 2003. "A Simple Method of Incorporating Income Effects into Logit and Nested-Logit Models: Theory and Application," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 248-253.
  7. David Hensher & Nina Shore & Kenneth Train, 2005. "Households’ Willingness to Pay for Water Service Attributes," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 509-531, December.
  8. DeShazo, J. R. & Fermo, German, 2002. "Designing Choice Sets for Stated Preference Methods: The Effects of Complexity on Choice Consistency," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 123-143, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Poulos, Christine & Yang, Jui-Chen & Patil, Sumeet R. & Pattanayak, Subhrendu & Wood, Siri & Goodyear, Lorelei & Gonzalez, Juan Marcos, 2012. "Consumer preferences for household water treatment products in Andhra Pradesh, India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(4), pages 738-746.

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