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Has private participation in water and sewerage improved coverage? - empirical evidence from Latin America

  • Clarke, George R. G.
  • Kosec, Katrina
  • Wallsten, Scott

Introducing private sector participation (PSP) into the water and sewerage sectors in developing countries is difficult and controversial. Empirical studies on its effects are scant and generally inconclusive. Case studies tend to find improvements in the sector following privatization, but they suffer from selection bias, and it is difficult to generalize from their results. To explore empirically the effects of PSP on coverage, we assemble a new dataset of connections to water and sewerage services at the city, and province level, based on household surveys in Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. The household surveys, conducted over a number of years, allow us to compile data, before and after the introduction of PSP, as well as from similar (control) regions that never privatized at all. Our analysis reveals that, in general, connection rates to piped water and sewerage, improved following the introduction of PSP, consistent with the case study literature. We also find, however, that connection rates similarly improved in the control regions, suggesting that PSP, per se, may not have been responsible for those improvements. On the other hand, connection rates for the poorest households also tended to increase in the regions with PSP, and in the control regions, suggesting that-in terms of connections at least-PSP did not harm the poor.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3445.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3445
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  1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Does piped water reduce diarrhea for children in rural India ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2664, The World Bank.
  2. Antonio Estache, 1994. "World Development Report: Infrastructure for Development," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44144, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 83-120, February.
  4. Komives, Kristin & Whittington, Dale & Wu, Xun, 2001. "Infrastructure coverage and the poor : the global perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2551, The World Bank.
  5. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
  6. Dilip Mookherjee & David McKenzie, 2001. "The Distributive Impact of Privatization in Latin America: Evidence from Four Countries," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-128, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised 2002.
  7. Azam, Jean-Paul & Dia, Magueye & N'Guessan, Tchetche, 2002. "Telecommunications sector reforms in Senegal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2894, The World Bank.
  8. Anwandter, Lars & Ozuna, Teofilo Jr., 2002. "Can public sector reforms improve the efficiency of public water utilities?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 687-700, October.
  9. Peter T. Robbins, 2003. "Transnational corporations and the discourse of water privatization," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(8), pages 1073-1082.
  10. Clarke, George R. G. & Gebreab, Frew A. & Mgombelo, Henry R., 2003. "Telecommunications reform in Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3036, The World Bank.
  11. Estache, Antonio & Kouassi, Eugene, 2002. "Sector organization, governance, and the inefficiency of African water utilities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2890, The World Bank.
  12. Shirley, Mary M. & Tusubira, F.F. & Gebreab, Frew & Haggarty, Luke, 2002. "Telecommunications reform in Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2864, The World Bank.
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