IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Providing Safe Water: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations

  • Amrita Ahuja
  • Michael Kremer
  • Alix Peterson Zwane


    (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
    Department of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
    NBER, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
    Brookings Institution, Washington, DC 20036)

Registered author(s):

    This paper uses a public economics framework to review evidence from randomized trials on domestic water access and quality in developing countries and to assess the case for subsidies. Water treatment can cost-effectively reduce reported diarrhea. However, many consumers have low willingness to pay for cleaner water; few households purchase household water treatment under retail models. Free point-of-collection water treatment systems designed to make water treatment convenient and salient can generate take-up of approximately 60% at a projected cost as low as $20 per year of life saved, comparable to vaccine costs. In contrast, the limited existing evidence suggests that many consumers value better access to water, but it does not yet demonstrate that better access improves health. The randomized impact evaluations reviewed have also generated methodological insights on a range of topics, including (a) the role of survey effects in health data collection, (b) methods to test for sunk-cost effects, (c) divergence in revealed preference and stated preference valuation measures, and (d) parameter estimation for structural policy simulations.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text downloads are only available to subscribers. Visit the abstract page for more information.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (October)
    Pages: 237-256

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:2:y:2010:p:237-256
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Annual Reviews 4139 El Camino Way Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:2:y:2010:p:237-256. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.