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This chapter finds that water and sewerage privatisation in England has favoured the extraction of economic value to guarantee short-term financeability and shareholder remuneration, harming long-term financeability and economic, technical, social, environmental, and political sustainability. A strong lock-in of distributive inefficiency comes together with highly regressive outcomes and cost shifting to future generations. Other lessons include: (1) it is important to consider how the pursuit of productive and distributive efficiency affects sustainable water development under different forms of ownership and governance; (2) the assumption that the public sector is an intrinsically inferior organisational mode does not hold; and (3) the problems with water privatisation in England cannot be attributed to the exceptionalism of its institutional design.
KeywordsSustainable Water Development Water Privatisation Inefficient Distribution Water And Sewerage Companies (WaSCs) Water Poverty
I would like to thank Stéphane Saussier, as well as Kate Bayliss, Olivier Favereau, David Hall, Junji Hashimoto, Niels Knudsen and Malcolm Sawyer, for helpful comments and suggestions. All remaining errors are mine. The financial support of the Independent Social Research Foundation is gratefully acknowledged (http://www.isrf.org/about/fellows-and-projects/emanuele-lobina).
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