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To drink or not to drink (tap water) ? The impact of environmental quality on consumer's choices

  • Bontemps, C.
  • Nauges, C.

Bottled water consumption has been steadily growing in the world for the past 30 years, in spite of its excessively high price compared to tap water. The Italian drink more bottled water than anybody else in the world, followed by the French who drink about 130 liters per year per inhabitant. In this country, despite an access to safe public drinking water, 42% of the population regularly drink bottled water. Using scanner data on French consumption combined with raw water quality and other environmental data, we show that raw water bad quality is the most important factor driving the dexision not to drink tap water. The estimated effect is found to be stronger for low-income households. We also confirm the significant direct impact of socioeconomic and demographic households' characteristics, as well as the role of cultural/regional factors. Overall, this study shows that pollution of raw water implies indirect costs for households who instead of drinking water from the tap spend up to 100 times more for bottled water. ...French Abstract : On propose dans cet article de mesurer, par une étude économétrique appropriée, l'impact des facteurs environnementaux, socioéconomiques et culturels sur la décision des ménages de boire (ou non) l'eau du robinet. L'originalité de notre approche réside d'une part, dans l'utilisation de données de consommation de ménages (SECODIP) associées à des informations sur la qualité de l'environnement dans la commune de résidence de ces ménages, en particulier la qualité des eaux brutes (IFEN-SCEES et DGS), et d'autre part dans l'utilisation du prix de potabilisation de l'eau comme mesure de la "mauvaise qualité" des eaux brutes. L'estimation d'un modèle probit sur un échantillon de 4 758 ménages montre que la "mauvaise qualité" des eaux brutes est le déterminant le plus important de la décision de (ne pas) boire l'eau du robinet. Le rôle significatif des caractéristiques des ménages et les effets régionaux sont également confirmés.

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Paper provided by French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse) in its series Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) with number 200601.

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Length: 28 p.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rea:inrawp:200601
Contact details of provider: Postal: INRA ESR - BP27 - 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France
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