Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Increasing Scarcity
30 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2011 Last revised: 28 Feb 2015
Date Written: August 2013
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: Suggested Citation