Our friends at the Reason Public Policy Institute (owned by the Reason Foundation, which also owns Reason magazine) reprint an interesting article from the Economist on their Web site, summing up a recent study indicating that privatizing water services can reduce child mortality. An excerpt from the article: Among municipalities in Argentina that privatised in 1990-96, the number of households connected to the network rose by 4.2 percentage points more than in districts that remained in public hands.
Before privatisation really got under way, in 1995, child mortality rates were falling at much the same pace in municipalities that eventually privatised and those that did not. After 1995, the fall accelerated in privatising municipalities. The fall was concentrated in deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases, the sort most likely to be affected by water quality and availability. Deaths from other causes did not decline.