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Capital Investment and Privatization: Public Opinion on Issues Related to Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Public Works Management & Policy, 19(2):118-147, 2014

47 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2013 Last revised: 18 Feb 2014

Sridhar Vedachalam

Johns Hopkins Water Institute; Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

David L. Kay

Cornell University - College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Susan J. Riha

Cornell University

Date Written: March 20, 2013

Abstract

Water and wastewater infrastructure (W&WI) in the U.S. is in need of immediate capital investments. Support from the federal government has declined significantly in the last two decades, forcing state and local governments to contribute a larger share. With increased decentralization of infrastructure decision-making, public opinion is playing an ever greater role. Questions on capital investment, privatization, and concern for W&WI were part of a national omnibus survey conducted in 2012. Demographic variables explained a small part of the variation in responses but were inconsistently significant across the issues, except for party affiliation, which was a significant explanatory variable for all three issues. Stated preferences through public opinion surveys, coupled with revealed preferences, can provide policymakers a broad understanding of public support for various W&WI policy alternatives. An informed electorate and a responsive government can together address complex challenges facing the water and wastewater sector in the country.

Keywords: Water and wastewater infrastructure, capital investment, privatization, public opinion

JEL Classification: D72, Q25, R53

Suggested Citation

Vedachalam, Sridhar and Kay, David L. and Riha, Susan J., Capital Investment and Privatization: Public Opinion on Issues Related to Water and Wastewater Infrastructure (March 20, 2013). Public Works Management & Policy, 19(2):118-147, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2236436 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2236436

Sridhar Vedachalam (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins Water Institute ( email )

615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

HOME PAGE: http://water.jhu.edu/

Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )

New York State Water Resources Institute
1123 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

David L. Kay

Cornell University - College of Agricultural and Life Sciences ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Susan J. Riha

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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