How can residents be persuaded to use less water when there is an eminent water shortage? This was the main question of a research programme on social dilemmas that I started in the UK (with financial aid from a water company). Of primary interest was the comparison between two different incentive schemes for water conservation: a fixed tariff vs. a variable (metered) tariff. We hypothesized and showed that, overall, people who pay a variable tariff for water are more likely to restrain themselves during a shortage than residents who pay a fixed tariff.
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