Thirsting for Efficiency - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780080440774, 9780080913452

Thirsting for Efficiency

1st Edition

The Economics and Politics of Urban Water System Reform

Editors: M. Shirley
eBook ISBN: 9780080913452
Imprint: Pergamon
Published Date: 18th April 2002
Page Count: 398
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Access

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

Free global shipping
No minimum order.


One billion people in the world lack safe drinking water and almost 2 billion lack adequate sanitation services. As a result millions suffer and die every year from water and sanitation related diseases. Poor management and inefficient investment are often responsible for this situation, and countless past attempts at reform have accomplished little. Recently some developing countries have tried to reverse years of mismanagement of their water and sewerage systems by auctioning contracts to private operators.

Why do countries that have tolerated mismanagement for decades develop a thirst for efficiency? What are the results of their efforts to change? What determines success or failure? This book fills a gap in the literature by systematically answering these important questions. It does so by analyzing reforms in six developing country capitals -- Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; and Conakry, Guinea - and the United States in the 19th century. It not only assesses economic factors, but also explores the roles of laws, politics and norms. It provides an economic theory of water that encompasses institutional, political and economic aspects of reform.

Table of Contents

List of figures. List of tables. List of contributors. Preface.

  1. Cities awash: a synthesis of the country cases (M.M. Shirley, C. Ménard).
  2. The economics of urban water systems (R.G. Noll).
  3. The Buenos Aires water concession (L. Alcázar, M.A. Abdala, M.M. Shirley).
  4. Institutions, politics, and contracts: the privatization attempt of the water and sanitation utility of Lima, Peru (L. Alcázar, L.C. Xu, A.M. Zuluaga).
  5. Water sector service contracts in Mexico City, Mexico (L. Haggarty, P. Brook, A.M. Zuluaga).
  6. Reforming urban water supply: the case of Chile (M.M. Shirley, L.C. Xu, A.M. Zuluaga).
  7. Reforming water supply in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: a mild reform in a turbulent environment (C. Ménard, G.R.G. Clarke).
  8. A transitory regime: water supply in Conakry, Guinea (C. Ménard, G.R.G. Clarke).
  9. Prospects for private water provision in developing countries: lessons from 19th-century America (K.J. Crocker, S.E. Masten). Statistical appendix. Author index. Subject index.


No. of pages:
© Pergamon 2002
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

M. Shirley

Affiliations and Expertise

Research Manager, The World Bank, 1818 H St. NW, Washington DC 20433, USA


@from:R. Martinez-Espineira @qu:...the volume presents a clear, thorough, and valuable contribution to the literature on water supply systems. Both academic analysts and government practitioners are bound to benefit from its reading. @source:Environment and Development Economics

Ratings and Reviews