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Presented By: Institute for Social Research

Citizen Responses to Poor Quality Urban Water Service: A Political Economy Approach

Water Ways: New Social Science, Science Studies, and Environmental Approaches to Water

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Citizen Responses to Poor Quality Urban Water Service: A Political Economy Approach
Alyssa Huberts, Harvard University

Monday, Apr. 4, Open Talks will be held noon to 1pm, and the Grad Workshops will be held 1 to 3pm.
In-person in ISR-Thompson 6050
Presentations will also be available online via Zoom

Abstract:
How do citizens respond to intermittent or unreliable water? In classic models of electoral accountability, urban residents that experience low quality services will punish local officials at the polls. Using the case of Mexico City, I show how a range of intervening factors – including a decentralized structure for water provision, a lack of clarity for "who is to blame", and citizens' own investments in household storage capacity – significantly complicate the link between the provision of high quality services and electoral payoffs. I also show how a dynamic set of interactions – including 311 requests, Twitter shaming, and even small-scale street blockades – create incentives for politicians to focus on "firefighting" problems with the water grid, rather than investing in longer term changes.

This is a part of the Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD) Winter 2022 Series - "Water Ways: New Social Science, Science Studies, and Environmental Approaches to Water"

This is also a part of the class Anthrcul 558 section 002
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