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Free to choose: Promoting conservation by relaxing outdoor watering restrictions

Author

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  • Castledine, A.
  • Moeltner, K.
  • Price, M.K.
  • Stoddard, S.

Abstract

Many water utilities use outdoor watering restrictions based on assigned weekly watering days to promote conservation and delay costly capacity expansions. We find that such policies can lead to unintended consequences – customers who adhere to the prescribed schedule use more water than those following a more flexible irrigation pattern. For our application to residential watering in a high-desert environment, this “rigidity penalty” is robust to an exogenous policy change that allowed an additional watering day per week. Our findings contribute to the growing literature on leakage effects of regulatory policies. In our case inefficiencies arise as policies limit the extent to which agents can temporally re-allocate actions.

Suggested Citation

  • Castledine, A. & Moeltner, K. & Price, M.K. & Stoddard, S., 2014. "Free to choose: Promoting conservation by relaxing outdoor watering restrictions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 324-343.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:107:y:2014:i:pa:p:324-343
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2014.02.004
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wichman, Casey J. & Taylor, Laura O. & von Haefen, Roger H., 2016. "Conservation policies: Who responds to price and who responds to prescription?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 114-134.
    2. repec:kap:enreec:v:72:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-018-0228-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tchigriaeva, Elena & Lott, Corey & Kimberly, Rollins, 2014. "Modeling effects of multiple conservation policy instruments and exogenous factors on urban residential water demand through household heterogeneity," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170605, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Brelsford, Christa & Abbott, Joshua K., 2017. "Growing into Water Conservation? Decomposing the Drivers of Reduced Water Consumption in Las Vegas, NV," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 99-110.
    5. Christa Brelsford & Joshua K. Abbott, 2018. "How Smart Are `Water Smart Landscapes'?," Papers 1803.04593, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Outdoor watering; Water conservation; Multi-equation system; Bayesian estimation; Posterior simulation;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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