IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Political Altruism of Transboundary Water Sharing


  • Bhaduri Anik

    () (Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn)

  • Barbier Edward B

    () (University of Wyoming)


In the paper, using a political altruism model, we make an attempt to explain why an upstream country might agree to a treaty that recognizes and enforces the water claims of a downstream country. In a natural extension of the standard economic model, it is possible to explain the above phenomena, by allowing for altruism between countries. The altruistic concerns of the countries are dependent on other country's willingness to have a good political relationship. If both the countries maintain favorable political relations with one another, then the upstream country will care about the impacts of its water diversion on the downstream country's welfare. The paper also illustrates the case of water sharing of the Ganges River between India and Bangladesh. The Ganges River, like many other rivers in the world, ignores political boundaries. In Bangladesh, the final downstream country along the Ganges, freshwater availability depends on the share of water diverted by the upstream country, India. For decades, India and Bangladesh failed to resolve the water-sharing issues of the Ganges River. However, in 1996, both India and Bangladesh signed a major new agreement on water sharing (Ganges River Treaty) in an effort to resolve the dispute. Using the political altruism model developed in the paper, we examine why despite needing more water than is available under the treaty, India has adapted to shortages instead of resorting to conflict with Bangladesh.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhaduri Anik & Barbier Edward B, 2008. "Political Altruism of Transboundary Water Sharing," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:32

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hori, Hajime, 1992. "Utility functionals with nonpaternalistic intergenerational altruism: The case where altruism extends to many generations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 451-467, April.
    2. James R. Chelius & James B. Dworkin, 1980. "An Economic Analysis of Final-Offer Arbitration as a Conflict Resolution Device," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(2), pages 293-310, June.
    3. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    4. Bergstrom, Ted, 1989. "Love and Spaghetti, the Opportunity Cost of Virtue," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 165-173, Spring.
    5. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bhaduri, Anik & Amarasinghe, Upali A. & Shah, Tushaar, 2008. "Benefits of irrigation water transfers in the National River Linking Project: a case study of Godavari (Polavaram)-Krishna link in Andhra Pradesh," IWMI Conference Proceedings 235168, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Eskander, Shaikh & Janus, Thorsten & Barbier, Edward, 2016. "Linking The Unlinked: Transboundary Water-Sharing Under Water-For-Leverage Negotiations," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235650, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Diana Suhardiman & Mark Giordano, 2012. "Process-focused analysis in transboundary water governance research," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 299-308, September.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:32. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.