Utilizing panel data collected in 27 countries from 1960 to 2010, we demonstrate that the relationship between per capita urban water consumption and per capita gross domestic product exhibits an N-shaped pattern. Following the environmental Kuznets curve literature, this relationship can be named the cubic water Kuznets curve. We also demonstrate that water policies significantly influence per capita urban water consumption, which implies that appropriate policy interventions might allow developing countries to achieve economic development with less per capita water consumption.

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