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Awareness and the demand for environmental quality: survey evidence on drinking water in urban India*

Jyotsna Jalan, E. Somanathan and Saraswata Chaudhuri ()

Environment and Development Economics, 2009, vol. 14, issue 6, 665-692

Abstract: The demand for environmental quality is often presumed to be low in developing countries due to poverty. Less attention has been paid to the possibility that lack of awareness about adverse health effects of environmental pollution could also keep the demand low. We use a household survey from urban India to estimate the effects of schooling, exposure to mass media, and other measures of awareness on home water purification. We find that these measures of awareness have statistically significant effects on home purification and, therefore, on willingness to pay. These effects are similar in magnitude to the wealth effects. Average costs of different home purification methods are used to generate partial estimates of willingness to pay for better drinking water quality.

Date: 2009
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