Who Should Own and Control Urban Water Systems? Historical Evidence from England and Wales

45 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2016

See all articles by Brian Beach

Brian Beach

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics

Werner Troesken

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nicola Tynan

Dickinson College

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

Nearly 40% of England’s privately built waterworks were municipalised in the late 19th century. We examine how this affected public health by pairing annual mortality data for over 600 registration districts, spanning 1869 to 1910, with detailed waterworks information. Identification is aided by both institutional hurdles and idiosyncratic delays in the municipalisation process. Municipalisation lowered deaths from typhoid fever, a waterborne disease, by nearly 20% but deaths from non-waterborne causes were unaffected. Results are also robust to the adoption of several strategies that control for the possibility of mean reversion and other potential confounds.

Suggested Citation

Beach, Brian and Troesken, Werner and Tynan, Nicola, Who Should Own and Control Urban Water Systems? Historical Evidence from England and Wales (August 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22553. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2832557

Brian Beach (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics ( email )

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

Werner Troesken

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7451 (Phone)
412-648-9074 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nicola Tynan

Dickinson College ( email )

PO Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
United States

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