Welfare and Distribution Effects of Water Pricing Policies
Water Demand,Welfare Economics,Equivalent Variation
Climate Change and Sustainable Development
In this paper, distribution and welfare effects of changes in block price systems are evaluated. A method is discussed to determine, for a Marshallian demand function, equivalent variation in case of a block price system. The method is applied to analyze welfare and distribution effects of changing water prices in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo. Results show that there is a trade off between average welfare and income distribution. A pro-poor price system may result in lower average welfare than a flat price system, but in higher individual welfare for the poor. Moreover, there is a trade off between revenues for the water company and income distribution. Even though pro-poor price systems may not be as good for average welfare as flat price systems, their direct effects on poverty are important. Introducing pro-poor price systems, however, may have financial consequences for the water companies.