IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/osf/socarx/7mc4r.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Water Pricing and Affordability in the US: Public vs Private Ownership

Author

Listed:
  • Zhang, Xue
  • Rivas, Marcela Gonzalez
  • Grant, Mary
  • Warner, Mildred E.

Abstract

We examine the 500 largest community water systems in the US to explore if ownership is related to annual water bills and the percent of income that low-income households spend on water. Results show that, among the largest water systems, private ownership is related to higher water prices and less affordability for low-income families. In states with regulations favorable to private providers, water utilities charge even higher prices. Affordability issues are more severe in communities with higher poverty and older infrastructure. Water policy needs to address ownership and regulation and explore new mechanisms to ensure water affordability for low-income residents.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Xue & Rivas, Marcela Gonzalez & Grant, Mary & Warner, Mildred E., 2021. "Water Pricing and Affordability in the US: Public vs Private Ownership," SocArXiv 7mc4r, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:7mc4r
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/7mc4r
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://osf.io/download/60c76592da0ff203a1392a48/
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.31219/osf.io/7mc4r?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pierce, Gregory & Chow, Nicholas & DeShazo, J.R., 2020. "The case for state-level drinking water affordability programs: Conceptual and empirical evidence from California," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    2. Martins, Rita & Quintal, Carlota & Cruz, Luís & Barata, Eduardo, 2016. "Water affordability issues in developed countries – The relevance of micro approaches," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(PA), pages 117-123.
    3. Warner, Mildred E. & Zhang, Xue & Rivas, Marcela González, 2020. "Which states and cities protect residents from water shutoffs in the COVID-19 pandemic?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    4. Bel, Germà, 2020. "Public versus private water delivery, remunicipalization and water tariffs," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    5. Elizabeth A Mack & Sarah Wrase, 2017. "A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in the United States," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, January.
    6. David Lloyd Owen, 2013. "Glas Cymru: lessons from nine years as a not-for-profit public-private partnership," International Journal of Water Resources Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 343-351, September.
    7. David Zetland & Christopher Gasson, 2013. "A global survey of urban water tariffs: are they sustainable, efficient and fair?," International Journal of Water Resources Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 327-342, September.
    8. Ruester, Sophia & Zschille, Michael, 2010. "The impact of governance structure on firm performance: An application to the German water distribution sector," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 154-162, September.
    9. Barbosa, Alexandro & Brusca, Isabel, 2015. "Governance structures and their impact on tariff levels of Brazilian water and sanitation corporations," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 94-105.
    10. Bel Germà & Fageda Xavier & E. Mildred, 2014. "Is private production of public services cheaper than public production? A meta-regression analysis of solid waste and water services," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 103-140.
    11. Congressional Budget Office, 2015. "Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2014," Reports 49910, Congressional Budget Office.
    12. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    13. Abbott, Malcolm & Cohen, Bruce, 2009. "Productivity and efficiency in the water industry," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 233-244, September.
    14. Eshien Chong & Freddy Huet & Stéphane Saussier, 2006. "Auctions, Ex Post Competition And Prices: The Efficiency Of Public‐Private Partnerships," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 77(4), pages 521-554, December.
    15. Romano, Giulia & Guerrini, Andrea, 2014. "The effects of ownership, board size and board composition on the performance of Italian water utilities," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 18-28.
    16. Megginson, William Leon, 2005. "The Financial Economics of Privatization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195150629.
    17. Beecher, Janice A. & Kalmbach, Jason A., 2013. "Structure, regulation, and pricing of water in the United States: A study of the Great Lakes region," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 32-47.
    18. Congressional Budget Office, 2015. "Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2014," Reports 49910, Congressional Budget Office.
    19. Saal, David S & Parker, David, 2001. "Productivity and Price Performance in the Privatized Water and Sewerage Companies of England and Wales," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 61-90, July.
    20. García-Valiñas, María de los Ángeles & González-Gómez, Francisco & Picazo-Tadeo, Andrés J., 2013. "Is the price of water for residential use related to provider ownership? Empirical evidence from Spain," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 59-69.
    21. Germà Bel & Francisco González-Gómez & Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo, 2013. "The dynamics of privatization and regulation of water services: a comparative study of two Spanish regions," International Journal of Water Resources Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 373-384, September.
    22. Sonia Ferdous Hoque & Dennis Wichelns, 2013. "State-of-the-art review: designing urban water tariffs to recover costs and promote wise use," International Journal of Water Resources Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 472-491, September.
    23. Homsy, George C. & Warner, Mildred E., 2020. "Does public ownership of utilities matter for local government water policies?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    24. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Carlos Primo C. David & Peter Julian A. Cayton & Theresa E. Lorenzo & Eduardo C. Santos, 2014. "Statistical analysis of Philippine water district characteristics and how these affect water tariffs," Water International, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 1-9, January.
    26. Francisco González-Gómez & Miguel Á. García-Rubio & Jorge Guardiola, 2020. "Some reflections on water for residential uses in developed countries," International Journal of Water Resources Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2-3), pages 311-324, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Rivas, Marcela González & Schroering, Caitlin, 2021. "Pittsburgh's translocal social movement: A case of the new public water," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    2. Barbosa, Alexandro & Brusca, Isabel, 2015. "Governance structures and their impact on tariff levels of Brazilian water and sanitation corporations," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 94-105.
    3. Hellwig, Michael & Polk, Andreas, 2021. "Do political links influence water prices? Determinants of water prices in Germany," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    4. D'Amore, Gabriella & Landriani, Loris & Lepore, Luigi, 2021. "Ownership and sustainability of Italian water utilities: The stakeholder role," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    5. Romano, Giulia & Molinos-Senante, María & Guerrini, Andrea, 2017. "Water utility efficiency assessment in Italy by accounting for service quality: An empirical investigation," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 97-108.
    6. Onda, Kyle S. & Tewari, Meenu, 2021. "Water systems in California: Ownership, geography, and affordability," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    7. Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto & Picazo-Tadeo, Andrés J. & González-Gómez, Francisco, 2015. "The ‘social choice’ of privatising urban water services: A case study of Madrid in Spain," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 616-629.
    8. Bel, Germà, 2020. "Public versus private water delivery, remunicipalization and water tariffs," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    9. Germà Bel & Francisco González-Gómez & Andrés J Picazo-Tadeo, 2015. "Does market concentration affect prices in the urban water industry?," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 33(6), pages 1546-1565, December.
    10. López-Ruiz, Samara & Tortajada, Cecilia & González-Gómez, Francisco, 2020. "Is the human right to water sufficiently protected in Spain? Affordability and governance concerns," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    11. Barbosa, Alexandro & Lima, Severino Cesário de & Brusca, Isabel, 2016. "Governance and efficiency in the Brazilian water utilities: A dynamic analysis in the process of universal access," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(PA), pages 82-96.
    12. Peeter Peda & Giuseppe Grossi & Margo Liik, 2013. "Do ownership and size affect the performance of water utilities? Evidence from Estonian municipalities," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 17(2), pages 237-259, May.
    13. Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto & González-Gómez, Francisco & J. Picazo- Tadeo, Andrés, 2015. "The privatisation of urban water services: theory and empirical evidence in the case of Spain," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 31, pages 157-174.
    14. Li, Li, 2018. "Private sector participation and performance of county water utilities in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 30-53.
    15. Alberto Cavaliere & Mario Maggi & Francesca Stroffolini, 2015. "Investments in Water Networks: A Normative Analysis of Local Public Utilities," DEM Working Papers Series 098, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    16. Porcher, Simon, 2017. "The ‘hidden costs’ of water provision: New evidence from the relationship between contracting-out and price in French water public services," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 166-175.
    17. Molinos-Senante, María & Donoso, Guillermo, 2016. "Water scarcity and affordability in urban water pricing: A case study of Chile," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(PA), pages 107-116.
    18. Friese, Maria & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Klein, Gordon J., 2020. "Property rights and transaction costs – The role of ownership and organization in German public service provision," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    19. Massimiliano Agovino & Massimiliano Cerciello & Antonio Garofalo & Loris Landriani & Luigi Lepore, 2021. "Corporate governance and sustainability in water utilities. The effects of decorporatisation in the city of Naples, Italy," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 874-890, February.
    20. Daniel Albalate & Germà Bel & R. Richard Geddes, 2012. "“Recovery Risk and Labor Costs in Public-Private-Partnerships: Contractual Choice in the U.S. Water industry”," IREA Working Papers 201222, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Dec 2012.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:7mc4r. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://arabixiv.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: OSF (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://arabixiv.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.