Performance consequences of water utility aggregation

Klien, M.

The paper “Performance consequences of water utility aggregation” (Klein, M.) will be presented at the 8th Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures (20-21 June, 2019).


We analyse how aggregation affects the performance of water utilities. Using a difference-in-difference design we find little evidence that utility performance was affected by the aggregation. Consolidated utilities also do not seem to outperform non-consolidated utilities in the post-merger years. We discuss factors such as upward wage convergence or the design of aggregations as potential explanations why the aggregations did not improve utility performance.

Presentation is available here


Michael Klien is a researcher at Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO). His research centers on the organisation and performance of public services, ranging from organisational studies to political economy. In addition to several scientific publications in peer-reviewed international journals, Michael has been consulting in a range of related areas (e.g. World Bank, OECD). He has worked extensively in the area of water services with a focus on utility performance, efficiency measurement and utility aggregations.

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