Sustainable Policy for Water Pricing in Kuwait
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This research investigates consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for water in Kuwait as a foundation for policy decisions on reducing water subsidies. Heavy subsidies have encouraged unsustainable very high consumption, but efforts to cut subsidies can generate strong political opposition. A survey (n = 443) indicates that WTP is greater at lower prices, but resistance is not purely about price. The presence of a continued partial water subsidy for basic household use slightly increases WTP, probably mainly from perceptions of fairness. Information about Kuwait's water scarcity also has a small impact. All of these effect sizes are small, so we discuss these issues using a nudge framework from behavioral economics. A number of policies can foster small shifts in WTP; collectively they may have larger impact and make subsidy reduction relatively painless.