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Does marginal price matter? : A regression discontinuity approach to estimating water demand

  • Nataraj, Shanthi
  • Hanemann, W. Michael

    ()

    (University of California, Berkeley. Dept of agricultural and resource economics)

Although complex pricing schedules are increasingly common in utility billing, it is difficult to determine whether consumers respond to complicated marginal prices because price changes are often confounded with simultaneous demand shocks or non-price policies. To overcome this challenge, we exploit a natural experiment - the introduction of a third price block in an increasing block pricing schedule for water - in Santa Cruz, California. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that consumers do respond to changes in marginal price. Doubling marginal price led to a 12% decrease in water use (500 cubic feet per bill) among high-use households.

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File URL: http://repositories.cdlib.org/are_ucb/1077
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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy in its series CUDARE Working Paper Series with number 1077.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:are:cudare:1077
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. James J. Opaluch, 1982. "Urban Residential Demand for Water in the United States: Further Discussion," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 58(2), pages 225-227.
  2. Jasper M. Dalhuisen & Raymond J. G. M. Florax & JHenri L. F. de Groot & Peter Nijkamp, 2003. "Price and Income Elasticities of Residential Water Demand: A Meta-Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(2), pages 292-308.
  3. Olmstead, Sheila M. & Michael Hanemann, W. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Water demand under alternative price structures," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 181-198, September.
  4. Renwick, Mary E. & Green, Richard D., 2000. "Do Residential Water Demand Side Management Policies Measure Up? An Analysis of Eight California Water Agencies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 37-55, July.
  5. Michael L. Nieswiadomy & David J. Molina, 1989. "Comparing Residential Water Demand Estimates under Decreasing and Increasing Block Rates Using Household Data," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 65(3), pages 280-289.
  6. Henry S. Foster, Jr. & Bruce R. Beattie, 1979. "Urban Residential Demand for Water in the United States," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(1), pages 43-58.
  7. Mary E. Renwick & Sandra O. Archibald, 1998. "Demand Side Management Policies for Residential Water Use: Who Bears the Conservation Burden?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(3), pages 343-359.
  8. Espey, James A. & Espey, Molly, 2004. "Turning on the Lights: A Meta-Analysis of Residential Electricity Demand Elasticities," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 36(01), April.
  9. Michael L. Nieswiadomy & David J. Molina, 1991. "A Note on Price Perception in Water Demand Models," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(3), pages 352-359.
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