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Reports of Water Quality Violations induce Consumers to buy Bottled Water

  • Seo, Misuk
  • Pape, Andreas Duus

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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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28207.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28207
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  1. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell & Wolfram Schlenker, 2011. "Water Quality Violations and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from Bottled Water Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 448-53, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  4. 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.
  5. Kerry Smith, V. & Desvousges, William H., 1986. "Averting behavior: Does it exist?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 291-296.
  6. Nicholas E. Piggott & Thomas L. Marsh, 2004. "Does Food Safety Information Impact U.S. Meat Demand?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(1), pages 154-174.
  7. Teisl, Mario F. & Roe, Brian & Hicks, Robert L., 2002. "Can Eco-Labels Tune a Market? Evidence from Dolphin-Safe Labeling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 339-359, May.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Bennear, Lori S. & Olmstead, Sheila M., 2008. "The impacts of the "right to know": Information disclosure and the violation of drinking water standards," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 117-130, September.
  11. Jakus, Paul M. & Shaw, W. Douglass & Nguyen, To N. & Walker, Mark, 2009. "Risk Perceptions of Arsenic in Tap Water and Consumption of Bottled Water," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49221, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  12. Madajewicz, Malgosia & Pfaff, Alexander & van Geen, Alexander & Graziano, Joseph & Hussein, Iftikhar & Momotaj, Hasina & Sylvi, Roksana & Ahsan, Habibul, 2007. "Can information alone change behavior? Response to arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 731-754, November.
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