Reports of Water Quality Violations induce Consumers to buy Bottled Water
The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments require that water utilities mail drinking water quality reports to their customers annually. The public uses this information; the news of a water quality violation makes a household 21% more likely to purchase bottled water in the following year. We estimate that about 768,000 additional Americans purchase bottled water because of reported violations. We measure reports of violations with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data about violation reports from 1,300 water utilities, with a service population of approximately 10 million people total. We measure the consumer response using the Consumer Expenditure (CEX) survey from 2006-2008 with 10,874 households, and we match consumers to utilities geographically.
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