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Comparing Contingent Valuation and Averting Expenditure Estimates of the Costs of Irregular Water Supply

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  • Orgill-Meyer, Jennifer
  • Jeuland, Marc
  • Albert, Jeff
  • Cutler, Nathan

Abstract

We compare two methods—contingent valuation and averting expenditures—to measure the demand for improved water reliability in urban Jordan. Traditionally, averting expenditures (a revealed preference measure) have been considered a lower bound for demand relative to contingent valuation (a stated preference measure) estimates. We develop a theoretical model to show that this relationship critically depends on household perceptions. In our setting, this insight is important, because households appear to have relatively low confidence in both the reliability and quality of existing water supplies, even though water quality tests suggest that utility water is safe to drink from a microbial perspective. Averting expenditures, which reach 4% of monthly expenditures on average, include substantial purchases of non-network water sourced from water shops or tankers, as well as costs in terms of water collection time, storage and in-home treatment. In contrast, the contingent valuation responses, while correlated with coping costs, reveal low willingness to pay for increases in water reliability from the utility network. We attribute this departure from the traditional relationship between averting expenditures and contingent valuation to the lack of household confidence in the quality of utility-provided water. Our study thus adds to previous evidence in the literature, which points to the importance of consumer perceptions in determining demand for environmental improvements.

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  • Orgill-Meyer, Jennifer & Jeuland, Marc & Albert, Jeff & Cutler, Nathan, 2018. "Comparing Contingent Valuation and Averting Expenditure Estimates of the Costs of Irregular Water Supply," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 250-264.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:250-264
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.10.016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sana AKHTAR & Sarah DEAN & Faiza ANJUM & Maryam JAVED, 2018. "Determination of Willingness to Pay for Improved Water Supply in Selected Areas of Lahore," Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies (CJUES), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 6(02), pages 1-12, June.
    2. Alexandra K. Shannon & Faraz Usmani & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & Marc Jeuland, 2019. "The Price of Purity: Willingness to Pay for Air and Water Purification Technologies in Rajasthan, India," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 73(4), pages 1073-1100, August.
    3. Sloggy, Matthew R. & Manning, Dale, 2020. "Natural Insurance and Weak Substitutability: Using Insurance Markets to Value Groundwater Stocks in Kansas," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304575, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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