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Water Shortages and Conflict

  • Antoine Soubeyran
  • Agnes Tomini

This study analyzes the risk of a conflict between countries sharing freshwater. While some scholars claim that water-based conflicts can never occur, this analysis identifies a negotiation interval whose size depends on water availability and asymmetry in productive ability between countries. This interval is assimilated to the probability-toconflict which is decreasing with its size. We show that the risk of conflict increases with scarcer water resources but, as well, the higher the asymmetry level, the higher is the probability-to-conflict. Whenever this heterogeneity is extremely large, there is no opportunity for cooperation. Then, given the existence of this negotiation interval, we turn to the Nashbargaining solution to highlight the optimal water allocation. We show that the amount of water allocated to a country is decreasing as long its productive ability increases.

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Article provided by Dalloz in its journal Revue d'├ęconomie politique.

Volume (Year): 122 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 279-297

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Handle: RePEc:cai:repdal:redp_218_0279
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cairn.info/revue-d-economie-politique.htm

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  1. Ambec, Stefan & Sprumont, Yves, 2002. "Sharing a River," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 453-462, December.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-12, June.
  3. Janmaat, John A & Ruijs, Arjan, 2006. "Investing in Arms to Secure Water," MPRA Paper 10667, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
  5. Ansink, Erik & Weikard, Hans-Peter, 2009. "Contested water rights," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 247-260, June.
  6. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier.
  7. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  8. D. Kilgour & Ariel Dinar, 2001. "Flexible Water Sharing within an International River Basin," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 18(1), pages 43-60, January.
  9. Dinar, Ariel & Wolf, Aaron, 1994. "Economic potential and political considerations of regional water trade: The Western Middle East example," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 335-356, November.
  10. Stuart A. Bremer, 1992. "Dangerous Dyads," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 36(2), pages 309-341, June.
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