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Reflections on "Some Unsettled Problems of Irrigation"

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  • Elinor Ostrom

Abstract

It is instructive to read the article that Katharine Coman published in the first issue of the American Economic Review to gain insight into the problems of collective action related to irrigation in the American West. One gains further understanding of the problems Coman identifies by using a social-ecological system (Ostrom 2007, 2009) to organize the diverse variables identified by Coman. One gains a general lesson from this analysis that changing the formal governance structure of irrigation is not sufficient to ensure efficient investment in facilities or that farmers are able to acquire property and make a reasonable living. Building knowledge and trust are, however, essential for solving collective-action problems. (JEL B31, N51, Q15, Q25)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 49-63

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:1:p:49-63

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  1. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
  2. Elinor Ostrom, 2010. "Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 641-72, June.
  3. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert N. Stavins, 2010. "The Problem of the Commons: Still Unsettled After 100 Years," NBER Working Papers 16403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Zaikin, Andrey & Espinola-Arredondo, Ana, 2012. "The Carrot or the Stick: Water Allocation Strategies for Uzbekistan," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124680, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Benno Torgler & Marco Piatti, 2011. "A Century of American Economic Review," Working Papers 2011.27, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Marianne Lefebvre, 2011. "Sharing Rules for Common-Pool Resources when Self-insurance is Available: an Experiment," Working Papers 11-22, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2012.
  5. Skurray, James H., 2013. "The scope for collective action in a large groundwater basin: an institutional analysis of aquifer governance in Western Australia," Working Papers 161075, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  6. Richard Hornbeck & Pinar Keskin, 2011. "The Evolving Impact of the Ogallala Aquifer: Agricultural Adaptation to Groundwater and Climate," NBER Working Papers 17625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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