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Multiple Goals Dilemma of Residential Water Pricing Policy Reform: Increasing Block Tariffs or a Uniform Tariff with Rebate?

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  • Xunzhou Ma

    () (Institute of Environment and Economy, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    College of Economics, Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu 610041, China)

  • Dan Wu

    () (Institute of Environment and Economy, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China)

  • Shiqiu Zhang

    () (Institute of Environment and Economy, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)

Abstract

Water is a basic necessity and its allocation and utilization, especially pricing policies, impose various social, economic, and ecological impacts on social groups. Increasing block tariffs (IBTs) has gained popularity because it is expected to incentivize water conservation while protecting poor people benefiting from the redistribution effects because of its nonlinear tariff structure. However, it results in price distortion under certain circumstances. Researchers have also proposed an alternative practical price system and a uniform tariff with rebate (UTR), with the price level set equal to the marginal social cost and a fixed rebate allocated to the poor groups. This study proceeds with a simulation of the two pricing systems, UTR and IBTs, and empirically explores their fundamental merits and limitations. The results confirm the theoretical perspective that a water price system, compared with an optimal tariff system, simultaneously achieves multiple goals to the greatest possible extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Xunzhou Ma & Dan Wu & Shiqiu Zhang, 2018. "Multiple Goals Dilemma of Residential Water Pricing Policy Reform: Increasing Block Tariffs or a Uniform Tariff with Rebate?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-17, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3526-:d:173083
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    uniform tariff with rebate; increasing block tariffs; marginal social cost; economic efficiency; fairness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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