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Field experiments on irrigation dilemmas

  • Janssen, Marco A.
  • Bousquet, François
  • Cardenas, Juan-Camilo
  • Castillo, Daniel
  • Worrapimphong, Kobchai

It is often assumed that irrigation systems require a central authority to solve coordination problems due to the asymmetry in position and influence between those located at the head-end of a system and those located at the tail-end. However, many examples of complex irrigation systems exist that are self-organized without central coordination. Field experiments on asymmetric commons dilemmas are performed with villagers in rural Colombia and Thailand. Our experiments show that there is a dynamic interaction between equality in the use of the common resource, and the level of the contributions to the creation of a common resource. Inequality in the distribution of benefits in one round triggers lower levels of group contributions, reducing efficiency and triggering even more inequality in contributions and distribution of the resource among players.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X12000376
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

Volume (Year): 109 (2012)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 65-75

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Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:109:y:2012:i:c:p:65-75
DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2012.03.004
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy

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  1. Joseph Henrich & Steve J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan, 2010. "The Weirdest People in the World?," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 139, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
  2. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, 06.
  3. Pretty, Jules & Ward, Hugh, 2001. "Social Capital and the Environment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 209-227, February.
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  5. Aggarwal, Rimjhim M. & Narayan, Tulika A., 2004. "Does inequality lead to greater efficiency in the use of local commons? The role of strategic investments in capacity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 163-182, January.
  6. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  7. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  8. 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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