Nontransferable Water Rights and
Technical Inefficiency in
the Japanese Water Supply Industry

Eiji Satoh

December 2011


This study examines whether the Japanese scheme of nontransferable water rights results in technical inefficiency. Using data on 1,263 Japanese retail water suppliers for 2008, their technical efficiency is measured employing data envelopment analysis. Next, a bootstrapped truncated regression model is specified to examine the determinants of technical efficiency. The estimation results reveal that the nontransferability of water rights leads to technical inefficiency of retail water suppliers. Furthermore, the costs of this efficiency amount to about 462 billion yen. This result suggests the government should reallocate water rights flexibly in order to ensure efficiency.

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