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Water Demand Under Alternative Price Structures

  • Sheila Olmstead
  • W. Michael Hanemann
  • Robert N. Stavins

We estimate the price elasticity of water demand with household-level data, structurally modeling the piecewise-linear budget constraints imposed by increasing-block pricing. We develop a mathematical expression for the unconditional price elasticity of demand under increasing-block prices and compare conditional and unconditional elasticities analytically and empirically. We test the hypothesis that price elasticity may depend on price structure, beyond technical differences in elasticity concepts. Due to the possibility of endogenous utility price structure choice, observed differences in elasticity across price structures may be due either to a behavioral response to price structure, or to underlying heterogeneity among water utility service areas.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13573.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13573.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13573
Note: EEE PE
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  1. Mansur, Erin T. & Olmstead, Sheila M., 2012. "The value of scarce water: Measuring the inefficiency of municipal regulations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 332-346.
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  8. Ellen M. Pint, 1999. "Household Responses to Increased Water Rates during the California Drought," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(2), pages 246-266.
  9. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The Econometrics of Kinked Budget Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 119-39, Spring.
  10. MICHAEL Nieswiadomy & STEVEN L. Cobb, 1993. "Impact Of Pricing Structure Selectivity On Urban Water Demand," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(3), pages 101-113, 07.
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  12. Christopher Timmins, 2003. "Demand-Side Technology Standards Under Inefficient Pricing Regimes," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(1), pages 107-124, September.
  13. 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.
  14. Hausmann, J. A. & Kinnucan, M. & McFaddden, D., 1979. "A two-level electricity demand model : Evaluation of the connecticut time-of-day pricing test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 263-289, August.
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