Drinking Water and Environmental Justice in Post-Flint America: How Water Tests Increase Public Welfare

Author(s)Ritchie, Kaitlynn
Author(s)Maik, Kecinski
Author(s)Kent D., Messer
Date Accessioned2019-10-28T17:46:31Z
Date Available2019-10-28T17:46:31Z
Publication Date2019-10-01
AbstractIn 2016, Flint, Michigan declared a State of Emergency due to high levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. Flint is predominantly black or African-American and the average income is significantly below the U.S. average. Extensive media coverage about these events may have adversely affected water quality perceptions in similarly disadvantaged communities but whose public drinking water systems have no outstanding violations. We conducted experiments in such a community to explore how individuals perceive their own drinking water and tests the effectiveness of two water quality treatments (water test kit and professional laboratory test). After collecting water samples from each participants home, these experiments revealed that the average willingness-to-accept to drink three ounces of their own water was $9.57. After treatment, their average willingness-to-accept was as low as $2.88. We show that inexpensive water test kits can be leveraged to rebuild trust in public water systems and enhance the welfare of disadvantaged communities.en_US
SponsorThis research was made possible by the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Grant No. IIA-1301765 and the State of Delaware.en_US
PublisherDepartment of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.en_US
Part of SeriesAPEC Research Reports;RR19-05
KeywordsExperimental economicsen_US
KeywordsField experimentsen_US
KeywordsDrinking water utilitiesen_US
KeywordsWater testingen_US
KeywordsEnvironmental justiceen_US
TitleDrinking Water and Environmental Justice in Post-Flint America: How Water Tests Increase Public Welfareen_US
TypeWorking Paperen_US
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