Publication Title: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of a public groundwater provision program on water tables in Northern India. I theorize that public provision leads to sustainable use of groundwater when the fixed costs for private well provision are high. I use village-level longitudinal data on aquifers and wells, and exploit the physical and technological limitations of surface pumps that generate a cost difference at a specific water depth to test this model. My findings suggest that public provision can be used as an alternative in scenarios where prohibitive monitoring costs might preclude the use of other regulatory approaches to prevent over-extraction.