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Does precipitation and runoff variability affect treaty cooperation between states sharing international bilateral rivers?


  • Dinar, Ariel
  • Blankespoor, Brian
  • Dinar, Shlomi
  • Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep


Elevated world temperatures, as forecasted by the 4th IPCC report, are expected to increase the hydrological cycle activity, leading to a change in precipitation patterns and increase in evapotranspiration. These in turn are expected to affect river runoff and water variability, depending on basin latitude. In this paper, we assess the impact of water supply variability on 'treaty cooperation' (defined here as the likelihood of treaty formation and number of treaties formed) between international bilateral river basin riparian states. The water variability measure that we use captures both annual runoff variability and precipitation variability. We employ additional control variables adopted from economic and international relations theories on international cooperation. The main results suggest that water supply variability in international bilateral basins creates an impetus for cooperation. Our results support an inverted U-shaped relationship between water supply variability and treaty cooperation. Similarly, interactions between the states in the form of diplomatic and trade relations support cooperation. Various measures of democracy/governance suggest different impacts on cooperation. Uneven economic power between the riparian states inhibits treaty cooperation. The geography variables we use are insignificant in all the estimated relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Dinar, Ariel & Blankespoor, Brian & Dinar, Shlomi & Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep, 2010. "Does precipitation and runoff variability affect treaty cooperation between states sharing international bilateral rivers?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 2568-2581, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:12:p:2568-2581

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brian Blankespoor & Alan Basist & Ariel Dinar & Shlomi Dinar & Harold Houba & Neil Thomas, 2014. "Assessing the Economic and Political Impacts of Climate Change on International River Basins using Surface Wetness in the Zambezi and Mekong Basins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-005/II, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Sheila M. Olmstead & Hilary Sigman, 2015. "Damming the Commons: An Empirical Analysis of International Cooperation and Conflict in Dam Location," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 497-526.
    3. Maja Schl�ter & Alessandro Tavoni & Simon Levin, 2014. "Robustness of norm-driven cooperation in the commons to environmental variability," GRI Working Papers 146, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    4. Dinar, Shlomi & Katz, David & De Stefano, Lucia & Blankespoor, Brian, 2014. "Climate change, conflict, and cooperation : global analysis of the resilience of international river treaties to increased water variability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6916, The World Bank.
    5. Blankespoor, Brian & Basist, Alan & Dinar, Ariel & Dinar, Shlomi, 2012. "Assessing economic and political impacts of Hydrological variability on treaties : case studies on the Zambezi and Mekong basins," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5996, The World Bank.
    6. Lucia De Stefano & James Duncan & Shlomi Dinar & Kerstin Stahl & Kenneth M Strzepek & Aaron T Wolf, 2012. "Climate change and the institutional resilience of international river basins," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(1), pages 193-209, January.
    7. Yoshiki Yamagata & Jue Yang & Joseph Galaskiewicz, 2013. "A contingency theory of policy innovation: how different theories explain the ratification of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 251-270, September.
    8. Dasgupta, Susmita & Kamal, Farhana Akhter & Khan, Zahirul Huque & Choudhury, Sharifuzzaman & Nishat, Ainun, 2014. "River salinity and climate change : evidence from coastal Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6817, The World Bank.


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