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The use of willingness to pay experiments : estimating demand for piped water connections in Sri Lanka

  • Pattanayak, Subhrendu K.
  • van den Berg, Caroline
  • Yang, Jui-Chen
  • Van Houtven, George

The authors show how willingness to pay surveys can be used to gauge household demand for improved network water and sanitation services. They do this by presenting a case-study from Sri Lanka, where they surveyed approximately 1,800 households in 2003. Using multivariate regression, they show that a complex combination of factors drives demand for service improvements. While poverty and costs are found to be key determinants of demand, the authors also find that location, self-provision, and perceptions matter as well, and that subsets of these factors matter differently for subsamples of the population. To evaluate the policy implications of the demand analysis, they use the model to estimate uptake rates of improved service under various scenarios-demand in subgroups, the institutional decision to rely on private sector provision, and various financial incentives targeted to the poor. The simulations show that in this particular environment in Sri Lanka, demand for piped water services is low, and that it is unlikely that under the present circumstances the goal of nearly universal piped water coverage is going to be achieved. Policy instruments, such as subsidization of connection fees, could be used to increase demand for piped water, but it is unclear whether the benefits of the use of such policies would outweigh the costs.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3818.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3818
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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1997. "Poor areas, or only poor people?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1798, The World Bank.
  2. Cameron, Trudy Ann & James, Michelle D, 1987. "Efficient Estimation Methods for "Closed-ended' Contingent Valuation Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 269-76, May.
  3. Dale Whittington, 1996. "Administering Contingent Valuation Surveys in Developing Countries," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper sp199601t1, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Jan 1996.
  4. John C. Whitehead & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & George L. Van Houtven & Brett R. Gelso, 2008. "Combining Revealed And Stated Preference Data To Estimate The Nonmarket Value Of Ecological Services: An Assessment Of The State Of The Science," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 872-908, December.
  5. Cameron, Trudy Ann, 1988. "A new paradigm for valuing non-market goods using referendum data: Maximum likelihood estimation by censored logistic regression," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 355-379, September.
  6. Mansfield, Carol & Reed Johnson, F. & Van Houtven, George, 2006. "The missing piece: Valuing averting behavior for children's ozone exposures," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 215-228, August.
  7. Antonio Estache & V. Foster & Q. Wodon, 2002. "Accounting for Poverty in Infrastructure Reform: Learning from Latin America's Experience," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44108, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Deirdre N. McCloskey & Stephen T. Ziliak, 1996. "The Standard Error of Regressions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, March.
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