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Contested water rights

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  • Ansink, Erik
  • Weikard, Hans-Peter

Abstract

In many international river basins disputes over property rights to water lead to inefficient water allocation and a waste of resources. In this paper, we examine how contested water rights impede water trade. To show this, we use a model in which property rights to water are contested because countries have overlapping claims to water. In the model, countries decide whether to bargain over the allocation of contested river water or not. If not, they engage in conflict. In the conflict, countries spend their resources on production, which also requires water, or on fighting to secure part of the contested water. The resulting equilibrium is inefficient as both countries spend a positive amount of resources on fighting which is not productive. However, a third party may be requested to intervene in the looming conflict and allocate the water in an equitable way. The results show that for certain model parameters countries prefer not to bargain an efficient allocation, but to engage in conflict, hoping for third party intervention. The mere possibility of third party intervention may give rise to an inefficient equilibrium. Two new features of this paper are the application of a conflict model to the issue of water rights and the introduction of (overlapping) claims to non-cooperative bargaining problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Ansink, Erik & Weikard, Hans-Peter, 2009. "Contested water rights," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 247-260, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:25:y:2009:i:2:p:247-260
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Erik Ansink & Hans-Peter Weikard, 2012. "Sequential sharing rules for river sharing problems," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 38(2), pages 187-210, February.
    2. Ansink, Erik, 2011. "The Arctic scramble: Introducing claims in a contest model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 693-707.
    3. Antoine Soubeyran & Agnes Tomini, 2012. "Water Shortages and Conflict," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 122(2), pages 279-297.
    4. Neda A. Zawahri & Ariel Dinar & Getachew Nigatu, 2016. "Governing international freshwater resources: an analysis of treaty design," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 307-331, April.
    5. Erik Ansink & Michael Gengenbach & Hans-Peter Weikard, 2012. "River Sharing and Water Trade," Working Papers 2012.17, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. Tridimas, George, 2011. "The political economy of power-sharing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 328-342, June.
    7. JU, Biung-Ghi & MORENO-TERNERO, Juan, 2014. "Fair allocation of disputed properties," CORE Discussion Papers 2014024, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    8. Thomson, William, 2015. "Axiomatic and game-theoretic analysis of bankruptcy and taxation problems: An update," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 41-59.
    9. Rahmi İlkılıç & Çağatay Kayı, 2014. "Allocation rules on networks," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(4), pages 877-892, December.
    10. repec:elg:eechap:15325_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Van Long, Ngo, 2013. "The theory of contests: A unified model and review of the literature," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 161-181.
    12. Heinrich Ursprung, 2012. "The evolution of sharing rules in rent seeking contests: Incentives crowd out cooperation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 149-161, October.
    13. Marianne Lefebvre, 2011. "Sharing Rules for Common-Pool Resources when Self-insurance is Available: an Experiment," Working Papers 11-22, LAMETA, Universitiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2012.
    14. Erik Ansink & Hans-Peter Weikard, 2015. "Composition properties in the river claims problem," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(4), pages 807-831, April.
    15. Ansink, Erik & Houba, Harold, 2016. "Sustainable agreements on stochastic river flow," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 92-117.
    16. Harold Houba & Hans-Peter Weikard, 2009. "Stone Age Equilibrium," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-092/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    17. Raul Caruso, 2012. "Contest with cooperative behavior: a note," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1747-1754.
    18. Ansink, Erik, 2010. "Refuting two claims about virtual water trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 2027-2032, August.
    19. Erik Ansink & Harold Houba, 2014. "The Economics of Transboundary River Management," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-132/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    20. Dagmawi Mulugeta Degefu & Weijun He, 2016. "Allocating Water under Bankruptcy Scenario," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 30(11), pages 3949-3964, September.
    21. Brück, Tilman & Schneider, Friedrich, 2011. "Terror and human insecurity: Editorial introduction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages 1-4.

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