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Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco

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  • Devoto, Florencia
  • Duflo, Esther
  • Dupas, Pascaline
  • Parienté, William
  • Pons, Vincent

Abstract

We study the demand for household water connections in urban Morocco, and the effect of such connections on household welfare. In the northern city of Tangiers, among homeowners without a private connection to the city’s water grid, a random subset was offered a simplified procedure to purchase a household connection on credit (at a zero percent interest rate). Take-up was high, at 69%. Because all households in our sample had access to the water grid through free public taps (often located fairly close to their homes), household connections did not lead to any improvement in the quality of the water households consumed; and despite significant increase in the quantity of water consumed, we find no change in the incidence of waterborne illnesses. Nevertheless, we find that households are willing to pay a substantial amount of money to have a private tap at home. Being connected generates important time gains, which are used for leisure and social activities, rather than productive activities. Because water is often a source of tension between households, household connections improve social integration and reduce conflict. Overall, within 6 months, self-reported well-being improved substantially among households in the treatment group, despite the financial cost of the connection. Our results suggest that facilitating access to credit for households to finance lump sum quality-of-life investments can significantly increase welfare, even if those investments do not result in income or health gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Devoto, Florencia & Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Parienté, William & Pons, Vincent, 2011. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," CEPR Discussion Papers 8326, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti & Khan, Shakeeb & Timmins, Christopher, 2010. "The impact of piped water provision on infant mortality in Brazil: A quantile panel data approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 188-200, July.
    2. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 83-120, February.
    3. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    4. Matias D. Cattaneo & Sebastian Galiani & Paul J. Gertler & Sebastian Martinez & Rocio Titiunik, 2009. "Housing, Health, and Happiness," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 75-105, February.
    5. Nava Ashraf & James Berry & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2383-2413, December.
    6. Pascaline Dupas, 2014. "Short‐Run Subsidies and Long‐Run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence From a Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 197-228, January.
    7. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1007-1065.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit; Water Access; Well-Being;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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