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Spring Cleaning: Rural Water Impacts, Valuation, and Property Rights Institutions

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  • Michael Kremer
  • Jessica Leino
  • Edward Miguel
  • Alix Peterson Zwane

Abstract

Using a randomized evaluation in Kenya, we measure health impacts of spring protection, an investment that improves source water quality. We also estimate households' valuation of spring protection and simulate the welfare impacts of alternatives to the current system of common property rights in water, which limits incentives for private investment. Spring infrastructure investments reduce fecal contamination by 66%, but household water quality improves less, due to recontamination. Child diarrhea falls by one quarter. Travel-cost based revealed preference estimates of households' valuations are much smaller than both stated preference valuations and health planners' valuations, and are consistent with models in which the demand for health is highly income elastic. We estimate that private property norms would generate little additional investment while imposing large static costs due to above-marginal-cost pricing, private property would function better at higher income levels or under water scarcity, and alternative institutions could yield Pareto improvements. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer & Jessica Leino & Edward Miguel & Alix Peterson Zwane, 2011. "Spring Cleaning: Rural Water Impacts, Valuation, and Property Rights Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 145-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:1:p:145-205
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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