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Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Varying Scarcity

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  • Emma Aisbett

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  • Ralf Steinhauser

    ()

Abstract

Studies of voluntary conservation response to changing information about an environmental problem have traditionally been synonymous with studies of information campaign effectiveness. As such, they have not been able to capture the response to actual changes in the environment. This paper takes a novel approach to identifying voluntary conservation by studying the impact of changing storage levels on urban water usage in the context of a prolonged drought and a highly ’water aware’ community. Our results suggest that voluntary conservation increases substantially when water is scarce and the public value of the savings is greatest. We discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of environmental information campaigns in general, and urban water demand management in particular. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Emma Aisbett & Ralf Steinhauser, 2014. "Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Varying Scarcity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(2), pages 167-185, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:59:y:2014:i:2:p:167-185
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-013-9722-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voluntary conservation; Information campaigns; Warm glow; Water use; Demand management; Q25; Q21; D64;

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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