Social Indicators Research

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 207–218 | Cite as

The Influence of Water Access in Subjective Well-Being: Some Evidence in Yucatan, Mexico

  • Jorge GuardiolaEmail author
  • Francisco González-Gómez
  • Ángel Lendechy Grajales


The literature on happiness or subjective well-being has explored the determinants of happiness without taking into consideration the role that water plays. In this paper we attempt to draw attention to water in subjective well-being studies. Approximately one hundred million people do not have access to water. A lack of clean water causes diseases such as diarrhea and cholera, responsible for around 5% of the total deaths in the world. Access to water should therefore be a necessary asset in life. In order to consider access to water, we estimate its influence on subjective well-being using data from rural Yucatan, Mexico. Residents in Yucatan suffer from low quality access to water and there are also imperfections in the management of the service, such as water cuts. We estimate the influence of water on subjective well-being, finding a positive and significant relationship. In a second stage of the research, we relate water access variables to subjective well-being, the health and the water domain of life, finding significant results. These results make it possible to formulate political measures concerning access to water and happiness maximization. We demonstrate that access to water is important for well-being in Yucatan and might be important in many other places; we therefore encourage future research to contemplate water satisfaction and water variables in their analysis.


Water access Subjective well-being Policy evaluation Water policy 



The authors would like to thank the comments made by the participants in the 1st Workshop on the Economics of Water that have benefited this research. More specifically, we would like to thank Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada for their useful observations. We also acknowledge the financial support from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (project ECO2009-08824/ECON and SEJ2007-62081/ECON) and Junta de Andalucía (P07-SEJ-02547).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Guardiola
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco González-Gómez
    • 2
  • Ángel Lendechy Grajales
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied Economics, Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversidad de Granada and Red de Malnutrición en IberoaméricaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Applied Economics, Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Centro de Investigaciones Regionales “Dr. Hideyo Noguchi”, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and Red de Malnutrición en IberoaméricaYucatánMexico

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