Many pressing challenges in the water and sanitation sector are institutional, rather than technical, in nature. Our group is interested in understanding the institutions and organizations that mediate the efficiency and effectiveness of water and sanitation service delivery. We have investigated how some developing-country organizations succeed in improving responsiveness and accountability to customers, improving transparency and reducing corruption, and expanding services to low-income households. We are also interested in policies related to pricing, subsidies, cost-recovery, and improving services to the poor.
We are also interested in the role that markets and private-sector organizations can play in W&S service delivery. Involvement of large private-sector firms in W&S service delivery has been highly controversial in both industrialized and developing countries. Our group is interested in identifying the conditions under which such public-private partnerships tend to confront conflict and resistance at the local level. We are also interested in understanding the factors that contribute to successful engagement of the private sector in W&S service delivery. We are focused not only on “large” private-sector participation, but also on the role that small-scale independent providers of water and sanitation services play, particularly in service delivery to poor households. An additional area of research is the use of microfinance to encourage household investment in improved water and sanitation infrastructure.
In collaboration with the national water regulatory authority of Mozambique (CRA), we are evaluating the impacts of legalizing resale of water from household connections in sub-Saharan Africa. (Woods Institute for the Environment, World Bank, and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor funding)
In collaboration with Water.org, we are exploring the role that microfinance can play in improving water supply and sanitation services for Kenyan households. (Water.org, MasterCard Foundation funding)
- V. Zuin, L. Ortolano, M. Alvarinho, K. Russel, A. Thebo, O. Muximpua, and J. Davis. 2011. Water supply services for Africa's urban poor: The role of resale. Journal of Water and Health doi:10.2166/wh.2011.031.
- H. Schaffer-Boudet, D.C. Jayasundera, and J. Davis. 2011. “Drivers of conflict in global infrastructure projects: Experience from the water and pipeline sectors.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 137, (7): 498-511. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000333.
- McAdam, D., Boudet, H. S., Davis, J., Orr, R. J., Richard Scott, W. and Levitt, R. E. (2010), “Site Fights”: Explaining Opposition to Pipeline Projects in the Developing World. Sociological Forum, 25: 401–427. doi: 10.1111/j.1573-7861.2010.01189.x
- Whittington, D., J. Davis, L. Prokopy, K. Komives, R. Thorsten, H. Lukacs. 2009. “How well is the demand-driven, community management model for rural water supply systems doing? Evidence from Bolivia, Peru, and Ghana,” Water Policy 11: 696-718.
- Davis, J., G. White, S. Damodaron, and R. Thorsten. “Improving access to water supply and sanitation in urban India: microfinance for water and sanitation infrastructure development,” Water Science & Technology 58(4): 887-891 (2008).
- Davis, J. 2005. Private-sector participation in the water and sanitation sector. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30: 1-39.
- Davis, J., and D. Whittington. 2004. Challenges for water sector reform in transition economies. Water Policy 6(4): 1-15.
- Davis, J. 2003. Corruption in public services: Experience from South Asia’s water and sanitation sector. World Development 32(1): 53-71.
- Davis, J., S. Tankha, A. Ghosh, P. Martin, T. Samad, B. Zia, and G. Prunier. 2002. In search of good governance: Experiments from South Asia’s water and sanitation sector. New Delhi: Water and Sanitation Program.
- Davis, Jennifer, Alice Kang, Jeffrey Vincent and Dale Whittington. How important is improved water infrastructure to microenterprises? Evidence from Uganda. World Development. 29 (10): 1753-1767.