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

30 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2011 Last revised: 28 Feb 2015

See all articles by Emma Aisbett

Emma Aisbett

ANU - School of Regulation and Global Governance

Ralf Steinhauser

Universit at Hamburg; Research School of Economics

Date Written: August 2013

Abstract

Studies of voluntary conservation response to changing information about an environmental problem have traditionally been synonymous with studies of information campaign effectiveness. As such, they have not been able to capture the response to actual changes in the environment. This paper takes a novel approach to identifying voluntary conservation by studying the impact of changing storage levels on urban water usage in the context of a prolonged drought and a highly ‘water aware’ community. Our results suggest that voluntary conservation increases substantially when water is scarce and the public value of the savings is greatest. We discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of environmental information campaigns in general, and urban water demand management in particular.

Keywords: voluntary conservation, information campaigns, warm glow, water use, demand management

JEL Classification: Q25, Q21, D64

Suggested Citation

Aisbett, Emma and Steinhauser, Ralf, Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Increasing Scarcity (August 2013). Crawford School Research Paper No. 11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1934049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1934049

Emma Aisbett (Contact Author)

ANU - School of Regulation and Global Governance ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Ralf Steinhauser

Universit at Hamburg ( email )

Welckerstr. 8,
Hamburg, Hamburg 20354
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiso.uni-hamburg.de/professuren/vwl-wachstum-umwelt-und-ressourcen/

Research School of Economics ( email )

Arndt Building 25a
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
0261254667 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://rse.anu.edu.au/people/people.php?ID=950

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