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Residential water demand under block rates: a Portuguese case study

  • Rita Martins

    ()

    (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra)

  • Adelino Fortunato

    ()

    (GEMF and Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra)

A residential water demand equation is estimated using a panel data sample of 5 Portuguese local communities and 72 months, corresponding to a total number of 360 observations. Because of the presence of multi-part tariffs, we use as explanatory variables the two common price-related variables: marginal price and difference. To prevent the simultaneity bias from using observed quantities to determine the values of marginal price and difference directly from the rate schedule, we use an instrumental variable approach to create a constant marginal price and difference parameters for each rate structure. The price elasticity value obtained fall within the range of those found in other case studies. Thus, although presenting weak elasticity, price seems to play a role in water demand management. However, we do not confirm the expected influence of difference on residential water demand. This can be a consequence of the complexity of the Portuguese water tariffs and the confusing signs that come from the simultaneous use of fixed quotas and increasing block tariffs. So, it is imperative to clarify water tariffs objectives by reviewing the Portuguese water tariffs design processes.

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File URL: http://gemf.fe.uc.pt/workingpapers/pdf/2005/gemf05_09.pdf
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Paper provided by GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra in its series GEMF Working Papers with number 2005-09.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Water Policy 9(2): 217-230, 2007.
Handle: RePEc:gmf:wpaper:2005-09
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  1. Roberto Martinez-Espineira & Celine Nauges, 2004. "Is all domestic water consumption sensitive to price control?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(15), pages 1697-1703.
  2. 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.
  3. Lester D. Taylor, 1975. "The Demand for Electricity: A Survey," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(1), pages 74-110, Spring.
  4. Garcia, Serge & Reynaud, Arnaud, 2004. "Estimating the benefits of efficient water pricing in France," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-25, March.
  5. Lars Gårn Hansen, 1996. "Water and Energy Price Impacts on Residential Water Demand in Copenhagen," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(1), pages 66-79.
  6. J. E. Schefter & E. L. David, 1985. "Estimating Residential Water Demand under Multi-Part Tariffs Using Aggregate Data," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 64(3), pages 272-280.
  7. 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.
  8. Céline Nauges & Alban Thomas, 2000. "Privately Operated Water Utilities, Municipal Price Negotiation, and Estimation of Residential Water Demand: The Case of France," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(1), pages 68-85.
  9. Renzetti, Steven, 1992. "Evaluating the welfare effects of reforming municipal water prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 147-163, March.
  10. Serge Garcia & Arnaud Reynaud, 2004. "Estimating the benefits of efficient water pricing in France," Working Papers 23321, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. R. Bruce Billings, 1982. "Specification of Block Rate Price Variables in Demand Models," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 58(3), pages 386-394.
  14. R. Bruce Billings & Donald E. Agthe, 1980. "Price Elasticities for Water: A Case of Increasing Block Rates," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 56(1), pages 73-84.
  15. 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.
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