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Reflections on "Some Unsettled Problems of Irrigation"

  • Elinor Ostrom

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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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.1.49
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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
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