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How "natural" are natural monopolies in the water supply and sewerage sector? Case studies from developing and transition economies


  • NAUGES Céline

    (LERNA, TSE)

  • VAN DEN BERG Caroline


Using data from the International Benchmarking NETwork database, the authors estimate measures of density and scale economies in the water industry in four countries (Brazil, Colombia, Moldova, and Vietnam) that differ substantially in economic development, piped water and sewerage coverage, and characteristics of the utilities operating in the different countries. They find evidence of economies of scale in Colombia, Moldova, and Vietnam, implying the existence of a natural monopoly. In Brazil the authors cannot reject the null hypothesis of constant returns to scale. They also find evidence of economies of customer density in Moldova and Vietnam. The results of this study show that the cost structure of the water and wastewater sector varies significantly between countries and within countries, and over time, which has implications for how to regulate the sector.
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  • NAUGES Céline & VAN DEN BERG Caroline, 2007. "How "natural" are natural monopolies in the water supply and sewerage sector? Case studies from developing and transition economies," LERNA Working Papers 07.05.226, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ler:wpaper:07.05.226

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    Cited by:

    1. Nadia Tecco, 2008. "Financially sustainable investments in developing countries water sectors: what conditions could promote private sector involvement?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 129-142, June.
    2. repec:idb:brikps:66858 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Francisco González Gómez & Miguel Angel García Rubio, 2008. "Efficiency in the management of urban water services. What have we learned after four decades of research?," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 185(2), pages 39-67, July.
    4. Konstantinos Tsagarakis, 2013. "Does Size Matter? Operating Cost Coverage for Water Utilities," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(5), pages 1551-1562, March.
    5. Angel Prieto & José L. Zofio & Inmaculada Alvarez, 2009. "Economías de escala, densidad y alcance en la provisión pública de infraestructura básica municipal," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 190(3), pages 59-94, September.
    6. Ferro, Gustavo & Lentini, Emilio & Mercadier, Augusto & Romero, Carlos A., 2010. "Retornos a escala en agua y saneamiento: estimaciones para América Latina
      [Returns to scale in water and sanitation: estimates for Latin Amercia]
      ," MPRA Paper 20324, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2010.
    7. Eiji Satoh, 2012. "Consolidation and Scale Economies in the Japanese Sewerage Industry," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-240, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Abbott, Malcolm & Cohen, Bruce, 2009. "Productivity and efficiency in the water industry," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 233-244, September.

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