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Awareness and the Demand for Environmental Quality: Drinking Water in Urban India

Author

Listed:
  • Jyotsna Jalan
  • E. Somanathan
  • Saraswata Choudhuri

Abstract

The demand for environmental quality clean air, potable water, sanitation, safe food is presumed to be low in developing countries due to poverty. However, individuals in developing countries often lack the necessary information to make good decisions about environmental hazards in their day-to-day lives. Even if households can afford to take private measures to improve environmental quality, very often they choose not to do so, because they are not aware of the health risks associated with inferior environmental quality. A key policy question is whether increasing awareness about the adverse health effects of environmental pollution will increase demand for a cleaner environment? In this paper, a household survey from urban India is used to estimate the effects of awareness and wealth on household decisions to purify home water. Average costs of different home purification methods are used to get estimates on willingness to pay for better drinking water quality in Delhi. It is found that measures of awareness such as schooling and exposure to mass media have statistically significant effects on adoption of different home purification methods and therefore, on willingness to pay. The interesting result is that these effects are similar in magnitude to wealth effects - this suggests that lack of awareness may be as important as poverty in influencing demand for clean water.

Suggested Citation

  • Jyotsna Jalan & E. Somanathan & Saraswata Choudhuri, "undated". "Awareness and the Demand for Environmental Quality: Drinking Water in Urban India," Working papers 32, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:snd:wpaper:32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Filmer, Deon*Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Joyashree Roy, "undated". "Estimating the Economic Benefits of Arsenic Removal in India: A Case Study from West Bengal," Working papers 15, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    3. Mahanta, Ratul & Chowdhury, Jayashree & Nath, Hiranya K., 2016. "Health costs of arsenic contamination of drinking water in Assam, India," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 30-42.
    4. Jyotsna Jalan & E.Somanathan, 2004. "Being informed matters: Experimental evidence on the demand for environmental quality," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 04-08, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    5. Gauri Khanna, 2008. "The Impact on Child Health from Access to Water and Sanitation and Other Socioeconomic Factors," IHEID Working Papers 02-2008, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Jan 2008.
    6. Pape, Andreas Duus & Seo, Misuk, 2015. "Reports of Water Quality Violations Induce Consumers to Buy Bottled Water," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 1-16, April.
    7. Mukherjee, Sacchidananda & Chakraborty, Debashis, 2009. "Is there any relationship between Environmental Quality Index, Human Development Index and Economic Growth? Evidences from Indian States," MPRA Paper 17207, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Devi, P. Indira, 2009. "Pesticide Application and Occupational Health Risks Among Farm Workers in Kerala-An Analysis Using Dose Response Function," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 64(4), pages 1-16.
    9. M. Genius & E. Hatzaki & E. Kouromichelaki & G. Kouvakis & S. Nikiforaki & K. Tsagarakis, 2008. "Evaluating Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Improved Potable Water Quality and Quantity," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 22(12), pages 1825-1834, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental awareness; drinking water quality; health risks; willingness to pay.;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water

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