Remunicipalization of water services in France and inter-municipal cooperation: who’s at the helm?

Local Government Studies, à paraître, 2023 — Alexandre Mayol et Stéphane Saussier


In this paper, we address the remunicipalization question from a novel perspective: by looking at ”who is at the helm”. Using a comprehensive panel dataset covering the complete universe of French drinking water services from 2009 to 2021, we show that the type of local governments in charge of supervising water services (inter-municipal cooperation or not) influences the decision to remunicipalize. We argue that this is because the costs of negotiating the remunicipalization of water services as well as the level of involvement in the investment and supervision of water services vary according to the type of local government. We conclude by discussing the lessons to be learned from our study concerning the future of remunicipalizations in France.

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