Takeup, Spillovers, and Heterogeneity in Water-Wise Landscaping Incentive Programs

41 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2023 Last revised: 26 Jul 2023

See all articles by Kevin Winseck

Kevin Winseck

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Date Written: July 15, 2023


In the face of historic drought in the U.S. West, water agencies throughout the region offer rebates to replace thirsty grass lawns, where a majority of residential water ends up, with more drought-tolerant landscaping. Using administrative data on turf replacement rebates, and variation in program generosity, this paper estimates a demand elasticity for rebates of 0.93 and finds that each lawn conversion leads to 0.61 additional conversions in the same neighborhood the following year. Rebate takeup generally increases with wealth, while White and Asian households have the highest baseline takeup, with Black households having less elastic demand. Hispanic rebate applicants are substantially more likely to be denied than others, an effect that is largely mitigated by contractor use.

Keywords: water conservation, rebate, turf replacement, spillover, xeriscape

JEL Classification: H23, Q25, Q28, L95

Suggested Citation

Winseck, Kevin, Takeup, Spillovers, and Heterogeneity in Water-Wise Landscaping Incentive Programs (July 15, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4511055 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4511055

Kevin Winseck (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

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