The Economic Conception of Water
Hanemann, W.H. Water Crisis: myth or reality? Eds. P.P. Rogers, M.R. Llamas, L. Martinez-Cortina, Taylor & Francis plc., London.
This chapter explains the economic conception of water -how economists think about
water. It consists of two main sections. First, it reviews the economic concept of value, explains how it is
measured, and discusses how this has been applied to water in various ways. Then it considers the debate
regarding whether or not water can, or should, be treatetl as an economic commodity, and discusses the
ways in which water is the same as, or different than, other commodities from an economic point of view.
While there are some distinctive emotive and symbolic features of water, there are also some distinctive
economic features that make the demand and supply of water different and more complex than that of
most other goods.
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