IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bontemps, C. & Nauges, C., 2006. "To drink or not to drink (tap water) ? The impact of environmental quality on consumer's choices," Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) 200601, French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse).
  • Handle: RePEc:rea:inrawp:200601

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item


    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:rea:inrawp:200601. 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: .

    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.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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: RAYNAL Helene The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask RAYNAL Helene to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    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.