Conservation Policies: Who Responds to Price and Who Responds to Prescription?
46 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014 Last revised: 4 Jun 2021
Date Written: September 2014
The efficiency properties of price and non-price instruments for conservation in environmental policy are well understood. Yet, there is little evidence comparing the effectiveness of these instruments, especially when considering water resource management. We exploit a rich panel of residential water consumption to examine heterogeneous responses to both price and non-price conservation policies during times of drought while controlling for unobservable household characteristics. Our empirical models suggest that the burden of pricing policies fall disproportionately on low-income households and fail to reduce consumption among households who generally are large consumers of water. However, prescriptive policies such as restrictions on outdoor water use result in uniform responses across income classes while simultaneously targeting reductions from households with irrigation systems or historically high consumption.
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