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Social policies and private sector participation in water supply – the case of France (Draft)
This research contributes to the literature on social policies in the water sector. First, it clarifies the definition of water affordability and water poverty, and second, it provides an institutional analysis of public and private regulations targeted at low-income households in France. The study also offers the first empirical analysis of water affordability in France. Using quantitative analyses of French household microeconomic surveys, the authors show that 4.31% of households in France (representing around 1.16 millions of households) needed to spend more than 3% of their income on paying water charges in 2001. Their results also demonstrate that single parent families (especially if the head of the household is a woman) and large families (for which social aid represents a large proportion of the total income) should be considered as the most vulnerable groups in terms of water affordability. The findings of this study also suggest that private participation in the water sector has not solved the water affordability problem of the poor.
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