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To drink or not to drink (tap water) ? The impact of environmental quality on consumer's choices

Christophe Bontemps () and Celine Nauges

Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) from French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse)

Abstract: Bottled water consumption has been steadily growing in the world for the past 30 years, in spite of its excessively high price compared to tap water. The Italian drink more bottled water than anybody else in the world, followed by the French who drink about 130 liters per year per inhabitant. In this country, despite an access to safe public drinking water, 42% of the population regularly drink bottled water. Using scanner data on French consumption combined with raw water quality and other environmental data, we show that raw water bad quality is the most important factor driving the dexision not to drink tap water. The estimated effect is found to be stronger for low-income households. We also confirm the significant direct impact of socioeconomic and demographic households' characteristics, as well as the role of cultural/regional factors. Overall, this study shows that pollution of raw water implies indirect costs for households who instead of drinking water from the tap spend up to 100 times more for bottled water. ...French Abstract : On propose dans cet article de mesurer, par une étude économétrique appropriée, l'impact des facteurs environnementaux, socioéconomiques et culturels sur la décision des ménages de boire (ou non) l'eau du robinet. L'originalité de notre approche réside d'une part, dans l'utilisation de données de consommation de ménages (SECODIP) associées à des informations sur la qualité de l'environnement dans la commune de résidence de ces ménages, en particulier la qualité des eaux brutes (IFEN-SCEES et DGS), et d'autre part dans l'utilisation du prix de potabilisation de l'eau comme mesure de la "mauvaise qualité" des eaux brutes. L'estimation d'un modèle probit sur un échantillon de 4 758 ménages montre que la "mauvaise qualité" des eaux brutes est le déterminant le plus important de la décision de (ne pas) boire l'eau du robinet. Le rôle significatif des caractéristiques des ménages et les effets régionaux sont également confirmés.

Keywords: TAP WATER; BOTTLED WATER; ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY; HOUSEHOLDS' CONSUMPTION; MODELE ECONOMETRIQUE; EAU POTABLE; COMPORTEMENT DU CONSOMMATEUR; CONSOMMATION DES MENAGES; QUALITE DES EAUX; POLLUTION DE L'EAU; DISPARITE REGIONALE (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C25 D12 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 p.
Date: 2006
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-env and nep-hea
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Journal Article: To drink or not to drink (tap water)? The impact of environmental quality on consumer’s choices (2010) Downloads
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