NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Shawn Stoddard

Truckee Meadows Water Authority
1355 Capital Boulevard
Reno NV 89502

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2014Free to Choose: Promoting Conservation by Relaxing Outdoor Watering Restrictions
with Anita Castledine, Klaus Moeltner, Michael Price: w20362
Many water utilities use outdoor watering restrictions based on assigned weekly watering days to promote conservation and delay costly capacity expansions. We find that such policies can lead to unintended consequences - customers who adhere to the prescribed schedule use more water than those following a more flexible irrigation pattern. For our application to residential watering in a high-desert environment, this "rigidity penalty" is robust to an exogenous policy change that allowed an additional watering day per week. Our findings contribute to the growing literature on leakage effects of regulatory policies. In our case inefficiencies arise as policies limit the extent to which agents can temporally re-allocate actions.

Published: Castledine, A. & Moeltner, K. & Price, M.K. & Stoddard, S., 2014. "Free to choose: Promoting conservation by relaxing outdoor watering restrictions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 324-343. citation courtesy of

 
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