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Water, water, everywhere : municipal finance and water supply in American cities

Author: David M Cutler; Grant Miller; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2005.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), working paper no. 11096.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Document   Computer File : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"The construction of municipal water systems was a major event in the history of American cities--bringing relief from disease, providing resources to combat fires, attracting business investment, and promoting development generally. Although the first large-scale municipal water system in the United States was completed in 1801, many American cities lacked waterworks until the turn of the twentieth century. This  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Computer File, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: David M Cutler; Grant Miller; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 57702938
Notes: "January 2005."
Description: 31, [14] pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), working paper no. 11096.
Responsibility: David Cutler, Grant Miller.

Abstract:

"The construction of municipal water systems was a major event in the history of American cities--bringing relief from disease, providing resources to combat fires, attracting business investment, and promoting development generally. Although the first large-scale municipal water system in the United States was completed in 1801, many American cities lacked waterworks until the turn of the twentieth century. This paper investigates the reason for the century-long delay and the subsequent frenzy of waterworks construction from 1890 through the 1920s. We propose an explanation that emphasizes the development of local public finance. Specifically, we highlight the importance of municipal bond market growth as a facilitator of debt finance. We argue that this explanation is superior to others put forward in the literature, including disease knowledge, the presence of externalities, municipal population density, natural monopoly, contracting difficulties, corruption costs, and growth in the supply of civil engineers"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site.

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