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Collective action for watershed management: field experiments in Colombia and Kenya

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  • CARDENAS, JUAN CAMILO
  • RODRIGUEZ, LUZ ANGELA
  • JOHNSON, NANCY

Abstract

The collective action problem around water use and management involves solving both the problems of provision and appropriation. Cooperation in the provision can be affected by the rival nature of appropriation and the asymmetries in access. We report the results of two field experiments conducted in Colombia and Kenya. The irrigation game was used to explore the provision and appropriation decisions under asymmetric or sequential appropriation, complemented by a voluntary contribution mechanism experiment which looks at provision decisions under symmetric appropriation. The overall results were consistent with the patterns of previous studies: the zero contribution hypotheses is rejected whereas the most effective institution to increase cooperation was face-to-face communication, although we find that communication works much more effectively in Colombia than in Kenya. We also find that the asymmetric appropriation did reduce cooperation, though the magnitude of the social loss and the effectiveness of alternative institutional options varied across sites.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2011)
Issue (Month): 03 (June)
Pages: 275-303

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:16:y:2011:i:03:p:275-303_00

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  1. Ostrom, Elinor, 2006. "The value-added of laboratory experiments for the study of institutions and common-pool resources," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 149-163, October.
  2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  3. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Ostrom, Elinor, 2004. "What do people bring into the game? Experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 307-326, December.
  4. repec:feb:artefa:00031 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Elinor Ostrom & Roy Gardner, 1993. "Coping with Asymmetries in the Commons: Self-Governing Irrigation Systems Can Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 93-112, Fall.
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Cited by:
  1. D’Exelle, Ben & Lecoutere, Els & Van Campenhout, Bjorn, 2012. "Equity-Efficiency Trade-Offs in Irrigation Water Sharing: Evidence from a Field Lab in Rural Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 2537-2551.
  2. Narloch, Ulf & Pascual, Unai & Drucker, Adam G., 2012. "Collective Action Dynamics under External Rewards: Experimental Insights from Andean Farming Communities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 2096-2107.
  3. Aida, Takeshi, 2011. "Social Capital as an Instrument for Common Pool Resource Management:A Case Study of Irrigation Management in Sri Lanka," Working Papers, JICA Research Institute 33, JICA Research Institute.

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