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Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Increasing Scarcity

Emma Aisbett and Ralf Steinhauser ()

Crawford School Research Papers from Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University

Abstract: Water is a classic common pool resource, especially during drought. This paper studies the impact of changing storage levels on urban water usage in the context of a prolonged drought and an extensive public information campaign which emphasized communal responsibility for maintaining ‘dam levels’. We identify a substantial voluntary conservation response to changing storage levels. The paper thus contributes a rare piece of real-world, behavioral evidence that voluntary conservation varies with the need for such action. Our findings also imply that estimates of price elasticity may be biased and welfare costs of mandatory restrictions may be overstated in many studies.

Keywords: common pool resources; voluntary conservation; warm glow; water use; demand management (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q25 Q21 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
Date: 2011-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-env
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http://www.crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/crwf_ssrn/crwfrp_1111.pdf (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Increasing Scarcity (2011) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:een:crwfrp:1111

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