Middlebury

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Using cross-sectional household-level data from seven provincial Cambodian towns, we estimate a water demand equation for households connected to the network, and provide an empirical measurement of the economic value of tap water connection. The use of a two-step econometric procedure allows us to analyse issues relating to household access to water and to the volume of household water consumption. We estimate that the connection elasticity with respect to the one-off initial cost of connection is -0.39; the price elasticity of water demand for the connected households lies in a range between -0.4 and -0.5; and the welfare effects of water connection are approximately 17 percent of the actual expenditure of the poor unconnected households. Furthermore, providing a network connection to all households in the sample would have the distributional consequences of decreasing the estimated Gini coefficient by three percentage points and the poverty head-count ratio by six percentage points.

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Jonathan Isham

Marcello Basani

Barry Reilly

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