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Efficiency in the management of urban water services. What have we learned after four decades of research?

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  • Francisco González Gómez

    () (Universidad de Granada)

  • Miguel Angel García Rubio

    () (Universidad de Granada)

Abstract

The analysis of efficiency in the management of urban water services offers valuable information both for the managers of this service and for public bodies in order to introduce improvements in business practices and in the design of public policies. Since the pioneering study carried out by Ford and Wardford (1969), there have been many attempts to follow this line of research. Due to the importance of the subject and the volume of publications in this field, we believe it is necessary to provide a balance of the work carried out over the last four decades. In this overview, we look at the main questions which have arisen over this period, we provide a synthesis of the results obtained and, finally, we point out some challenges for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco González Gómez & Miguel Angel García Rubio, 2008. "Efficiency in the management of urban water services. What have we learned after four decades of research?," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 185(2), pages 39-67, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2008:v:185:i:2:p:39-67
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto & González-Gómez, Francisco & J. Picazo- Tadeo, Andrés, 2015. "The privatisation of urban water services: theory and empirical evidence in the case of Spain," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 31, pages 157-174.
    2. Francisco Gonzalez-Gomez & Jorge Guardiola & Teresa Garcia-Muñoz, 2009. "The link between water access and subjective well-being: some methods and proposals," ThE Papers 09/02, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    3. Vidoli, Francesco, 2011. "Evaluating the water sector in Italy through a two stage method using the conditional robust nonparametric frontier and multivariate adaptive regression splines," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 212(3), pages 583-595, August.
    4. Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto & Picazo-Tadeo, Andrés J. & González-Gómez, Francisco, 2015. "The ‘social choice’ of privatising urban water services: A case study of Madrid in Spain," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 616-629.
    5. Rita Martins & Fernando Coelho & Adelino Fortunato, 2012. "Water losses and hydrographical regions influence on the cost structure of the Portuguese water industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 81-94, August.
    6. Konstantinos Tsagarakis, 2013. "Does Size Matter? Operating Cost Coverage for Water Utilities," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(5), pages 1551-1562, March.
    7. Germà Bel & Xavier Fageda & Melania Mur, 2010. "¿Por qué se privatizan servicios en los municipios (pequeños)? Evidencia empírica sobre residuos sólidos y agua," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 192(1), pages 33-58, March.
    8. Angel Prieto & José L. Zofio & Inmaculada Alvarez, 2009. "Economías de escala, densidad y alcance en la provisión pública de infraestructura básica municipal," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 190(3), pages 59-94, September.
    9. Ferro, Gustavo & Lentini, Emilio & Mercadier, Augusto & Romero, Carlos A., 2010. "Retornos a escala en agua y saneamiento: estimaciones para América Latina
      [Returns to scale in water and sanitation: estimates for Latin Amercia]
      ," MPRA Paper 20324, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2010.
    10. Kristof De Witte & Rui Marques, 2010. "Designing performance incentives, an international benchmark study in the water sector," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 18(2), pages 189-220, June.
    11. Francisco González-Gómez & Miguel García‐Rubio & Francisco Alcalá-Olid & M. Ortega-Díaz, 2013. "Outsourcing and Efficiency in the Management of Rural Water Services," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(3), pages 731-747, February.
    12. Miguel A. García-Rubio & Francisco González-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola, 2009. "Performance and ownership in the governance of urban water," FEG Working Paper Series 09/03, Faculty of Economics and Business (University of Granada).
    13. van den Berg, Caroline, 2014. "The drivers of non-revenue water : how effective are non-revenue water reduction programs ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6997, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water utilities; Efficiency; Firm behaviour; Water;

    JEL classification:

    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water

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