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Understanding the evolution and performance of water markets and allocation policy: A transaction costs analysis framework

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  • Garrick, Dustin
  • Whitten, Stuart M.
  • Coggan, Anthea

Abstract

Water markets and associated allocation policy reforms have struggled to achieve their intended goals in many water-stressed rivers, in part due to the institutional friction imposed by transition and transaction costs. This paper elaborates a transaction costs analysis framework to examine the evolution and performance of water markets and allocation policy reforms. This analysis rests on three pillars: i) a synthesis of three theoretical traditions of institutional analysis (Williamson, North, and Ostrom) often considered independently; ii) a framework to examine the types and interactions of transaction costs in market-based water allocation over time; and iii) an illustrative analysis of three large river basins – the Colorado, Columbia and Murray–Darling – with varying levels of success in market-based water policy reforms. The resulting framework accounts for water's complexity as an economic good. This framework and the case studies lead to the identification of several policy implications including the need for: a multiphase sequencing of reform, strategic investment in institutional transition costs, and institutional choices that preserve future flexibility to adjust water rights and diversion limits to manage social and environmental externalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Garrick, Dustin & Whitten, Stuart M. & Coggan, Anthea, 2013. "Understanding the evolution and performance of water markets and allocation policy: A transaction costs analysis framework," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 195-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:88:y:2013:i:c:p:195-205
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.12.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Krutilla, Kerry & Alexeev, Alexander, 2014. "The Political Transaction Costs and Uncertainties of Establishing Environmental Rights," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 299-309.
    2. Swallow, Kimberly A. & Swallow, Brent M., 2015. "Explicitly integrating institutions into bioeconomic modeling:," IFPRI discussion papers 1420, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Marshall, Graham R., 2013. "Transaction Costs, Collective Action And Adaptation In Managing Social-Ecological Systems," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152166, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    4. Coggan, Anthea & Buitelaar, Edwin & Whitten, Stuart & Bennett, Jeff, 2013. "Factors that influence transaction costs in development offsets: Who bears what and why?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 222-231.
    5. Bauman, Allison & Goemans, Christopher & Pritchett, James & Thilmany McFadden, Dawn, 2015. "Modeling Imperfectly Competitive Water Markets in the Western U.S," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 201448, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    6. McCann, Laura, 2013. "Transaction costs and environmental policy design," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 253-262.
    7. DeBoe, Gwendolen & Stephenson, Kurt, 2016. "Transactions costs of expanding nutrient trading to agricultural working lands: A Virginia case study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 176-185.
    8. repec:wsi:wepxxx:v:03:y:2017:i:01:n:s2382624x1650020x is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:forpol:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:141-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Wegelin, Philipp & von Arx, Widar, 2016. "The impact of alternative governance forms of regional public rail transport on transaction costs. Case evidence from Germany and Switzerland," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 133-142.
    11. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:560-573 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Crase, Lin & O'Keefe, Sue & Dollery, Brian, 2013. "Talk is cheap, or is it? The cost of consulting about uncertain reallocation of water in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 206-213.
    13. Wang, Y.B. & Liu, D. & Cao, X.C. & Yang, Z.Y. & Song, J.F. & Chen, D.Y. & Sun, S.K., 2017. "Agricultural water rights trading and virtual water export compensation coupling model: A case study of an irrigation district in China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 180(PA), pages 99-106.
    14. Marshall, Graham R., 2013. "Transaction costs, collective action and adaptation in managing complex social–ecological systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 185-194.
    15. repec:spr:waterr:v:31:y:2017:i:10:d:10.1007_s11269-017-1606-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Jing Liu & Thomas Hertel & Farzad Taheripour, 2016. "Analyzing Future Water Scarcity in Computable General Equilibrium Models," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(04), pages 1-30, December.
    17. repec:eee:agiwat:v:190:y:2017:i:c:p:6-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:agiwat:v:200:y:2018:i:c:p:47-59 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Jonathan Yoder & Micheal Brady & Joseph Cook, 2016. "Water Markets and Storage — Substitutes or Complements for Drought Risk Mitigation?," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(02), pages 1-21, June.
    20. Thiel, Andreas & Schleyer, Christian & Hinkel, Jochen & Schlüter, Maja & Hagedorn, Konrad & Bisaro, Sandy & Bobojonov, Ihtiyor & Hamidov, Ahmad, 2016. "Transferring Williamson's discriminating alignment to the analysis of environmental governance of social-ecological interdependence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 159-168.

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