Informing Policy in the World's Largest Democracy

Author:  Ali Farhan
Institution:  repss
Date:  October 2007

Informing Policy in the World's Largest Democracy

JYI's mission is not limited by geographical boundaries. Not only are our readers and staff international, we also publish articles by authors from all over the world. In this issue, we highlight an article from India at the intersection of economics, environment, and policy-making. Guha employs an empirical method to estimate the willingness of Calcutta residents to pay for an increasingly important commodity: safe drinking water. He also derived estimates of cost of water production through review of the relevant literature. What he finds is especially relevant to a city striving for a more efficient budget allocation and a means of generating revenue. Guha finds that the willingness to pay is much higher than the cost of supply, even among slum-dwellers. This suggests that the city of Calcutta need not totally bear the cost of water production and can instead impose potable water levies.

Although policy-making requires the consideration of other factors (such as political factors), this paper has shown that objective methods can be used to support policy-making which can beneficial to the majority.

Farhan Ali

Psychology and Social Sciences Research Editor