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The Welfare Costs of Unreliable Water Service

Author

Listed:
  • Baisa, Brian
  • Davis, Lucas
  • Salant, Stephen W.
  • Wilcox, William

Abstract

Throughout the developing world, many water distribution systems are unreliable. As a result, it becomes necessary for each household to store its own water as a hedge against this uncertainty. Since arrivals of water are not synchronized across households, serious distributional inefficiencies arise. We develop a model describing the optimal intertemporal depletion of each household’s private water storage when it is uncertain when water will next arrive to replenish supplies. The model is calibrated using survey data from Mexico City, a city where many households store water in sealed rooftop tanks known as tinacos. The calibrated model is used to evaluate the potential welfare gains that would occur if alternative modes of water provision were implemented. We estimate that most of the potential distributional inefficiencies can be eliminated simply by making the frequency of deliveries the same across households which now face haphazard deliveries. This would require neither costly investments in infrastructure nor price increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Baisa, Brian & Davis, Lucas & Salant, Stephen W. & Wilcox, William, 2008. "The Welfare Costs of Unreliable Water Service," MPRA Paper 9812, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:9812
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wanjiru, Evan M. & Zhang, Lijun & Xia, Xiaohua, 2016. "Model predictive control strategy of energy-water management in urban households," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 821-831.
    2. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Mansur, Erin T. & Wang, Qiong (Juliana), 2015. "Electricity shortages and firm productivity: Evidence from China's industrial firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 172-188.
    3. Choumert, Johanna & Stage, Jesper & Uwera, Claudine, 2014. "Access to water as determinant of rental values: A housing hedonic analysis in Rwanda," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 48-54.
    4. Sheila M. Olmstead, 2010. "The Economics of Water Quality," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(1), pages 44-62, Winter.
    5. Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2017. "Sewers’ diffusion and the decline of mortality: The case of Paris, 1880–1914," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 174-186.
    6. Gerard, Francois, 2013. "What Changes Energy Consumption, and for How Long? New Evidence from the 2001 Brazilian Electricity Crisis," Discussion Papers dp-13-06, Resources For the Future.
    7. Aliprantis, Dionissi, 2014. "What Is the Equity-Efficiency Tradeoff when Maintaining Wells in Rural Haiti?," Working Paper 1424, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 27 Oct 2014.
    8. Karen Fisher-Vanden & Erin T. Mansur & Qiong (Juliana) Wang, 2012. "Costly Blackouts? Measuring Productivity and Environmental Effects of Electricity Shortages," NBER Working Papers 17741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lionel Kesztenbaum & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Income versus Sanitation; Mortality Decline in Paris, 1880-1914," Working Papers halshs-01018594, HAL.
    10. Vásquez, William F., 2011. "Household preferences and governance of water services: A hedonic analysis from rural Guatemala," IFPRI discussion papers 1152, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Johanna CHOUMERT & Jesper STAGE & Claudine UWERA, 2014. "Access to water as a determinant of rental values: A hedonic analysis in Rwanda," Working Papers 201401, CERDI.
    12. Lionel Kesztenbaum & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Income versus Sanitation; Mortality Decline in Paris, 1880-1914," PSE Working Papers halshs-01018594, HAL.
    13. Agha Akram & Sheila Olmstead, 2011. "The Value of Household Water Service Quality in Lahore, Pakistan," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(2), pages 173-198, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water Supply Uncertainty; Water Storage; Distributional Inefficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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