Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco

40 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2011

See all articles by Florencia Devoto

Florencia Devoto

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Pascaline Dupas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Vincent Pons

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

William Pariente

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2011

Abstract

We study the demand for household water connections in urban Morocco, and the effect of such connections on household welfare. In the northern city of Tangiers, among homeowners without a private connection to the city’s water grid, a random subset was offered a simplified procedure to purchase a household connection on credit (at a zero percent interest rate). Take-up was high, at 69%. Because all households in our sample had access to the water grid through free public taps (often located fairly close to their homes), household connections did not lead to any improvement in the quality of the water households consumed; and despite significant increase in the quantity of water consumed, we find no change in the incidence of waterborne illnesses. Nevertheless, we find that households are willing to pay a substantial amount of money to have a private tap at home. Being connected generates important time gains, which are used for leisure and social activities, rather than productive activities. Because water is often a source of tension between households, household connections improve social integration and reduce conflict. Overall, within 6 months, self-reported well-being improved substantially among households in the treatment group, despite the financial cost of the connection. Our results suggest that facilitating access to credit for households to finance lump sum quality-of-life investments can significantly increase welfare, even if those investments do not result in income or health gains.

Suggested Citation

Devoto, Florencia and Duflo, Esther and Dupas, Pascaline and Pons, Vincent and Pariente, William, Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco (April 1, 2011). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 11-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1803576 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1803576

Florencia Devoto

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Esther Duflo (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-544
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-258-7013 (Phone)
617-253-6915 (Fax)

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

Pascaline Dupas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Vincent Pons

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

William Pariente

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

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