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Abstract

Urban lakes located in arid environments require large quantities of water to maintain their water levels, with much of this water associated with high opportunity costs. Many of these lakes are manmade and provide various amenities to surrounding residents. In this paper we use matching techniques to recover the average capitalized value of lakes to surrounding communities and differentiate between community members and adjacent households to recover heterogeneous treatment effects. Importantly, we consider the role of both unobservable and observable features of matching to recover heterogeneous capitalization across lake communities. Our results suggest that the capitalized value of lakes to community residents is highly heterogeneous and ranges from an annual value of -$29 to +$20 per homeowner per acre foot of water. These results suggest that small changes in water pricing could remove the surplus benefits of lakes to community residents.

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