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Awareness and the demand for environmental quality: Drinking water in urban India


  • Jyotsna Jalan

    () (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • E.Somanathan

    () (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Saraswata Chaudhuri

    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)


The demand for environmental quality is often presumed to be low in developingcountries due to poverty. Less attention has been paid to the possibility that lack of awareness about the adverse health effects of environmental pollution could also keep the demand low. We use a household survey from urban India to estimate the effects of awareness and wealth on home water purification. Average costs of different home purification methods are used to derive get estimates of lower bounds on willingness to pay for better drinking water water quality in Delhi. We find that measures of awareness such as schooling and exposure to mass media have statistically significant effects on adoption of different home purification methods and therefore, on willingness to pay. These effects are similar in magnitude to the wealth effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Jyotsna Jalan & E.Somanathan & Saraswata Chaudhuri, 2003. "Awareness and the demand for environmental quality: Drinking water in urban India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 03-05, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:03-05

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Does piped water reduce diarrhea for children in rural India?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 153-173, January.
    2. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
    3. Filmer, Deon*Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
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    5. Larson, Bruce A. & Gnedenko, Ekaterina D., 1999. "Avoiding health risks from drinking water in Moscow: An empirical analysis," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 565-581, October.
    6. Bryan J. Hubbell & Jeffrey L. Jordan, 2000. "Joint Production and Averting Expenditure Measures of Willingness to Pay: Do Water Expenditures Really Measure Avoidance Costs?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(2), pages 427-437.
    7. Alberini, Anna & Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Krupnick, Alan & McGranahan, Gordon, 1996. "Determinants of diarrheal disease in Jakarta," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1568, The World Bank.
    8. Boyce, James K. & Klemer, Andrew R. & Templet, Paul H. & Willis, Cleve E., 1999. "Power distribution, the environment, and public health: A state-level analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 127-140, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Devi, P. Indira, 2009. "Pesticide Application and Occupational Health Risks Among Farm Workers in Kerala-An Analysis Using Dose Response Function," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 64(4).
    2. Jalan, Jyotsna & Somanathan, E., 2008. "The importance of being informed: Experimental evidence on demand for environmental quality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 14-28, August.
    3. Seo, Misuk & Pape, Andreas Duus, 2011. "Reports of Water Quality Violations induce Consumers to buy Bottled Water," MPRA Paper 28207, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. M. Genius & E. Hatzaki & E. Kouromichelaki & G. Kouvakis & S. Nikiforaki & K. Tsagarakis, 2008. "Evaluating Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Improved Potable Water Quality and Quantity," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 22(12), pages 1825-1834, December.
    5. Joyashree Roy, "undated". "Estimating the Economic Benefits of Arsenic Removal in India: A Case Study from West Bengal," Working papers 15, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    6. Mahanta, Ratul & Chowdhury, Jayashree & Nath, Hiranya K., 2016. "Health costs of arsenic contamination of drinking water in Assam, India," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 30-42.
    7. Gauri Khanna, 2008. "The Impact on Child Health from Access to Water and Sanitation and Other Socioeconomic Factors," IHEID Working Papers 02-2008, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Jan 2008.
    8. Mukherjee, Sacchidananda & Chakraborty, Debashis, 2009. "Is there any relationship between Environmental Quality Index, Human Development Index and Economic Growth? Evidences from Indian States," MPRA Paper 17207, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Environmental awareness; drinking water quality; health risks;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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