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Bureaucratic incentives, path dependence, and foreign aid: An empirical institutional analysis of irrigation in the Philippines


  • Eduardo Araral



At least 25 developing countries are embarking on irrigation governance reforms to address the persistent problem of poor irrigation performance. Some scholars suggest that the patterns of construction, deterioration, rehabilitation, and modernization commonly found among irrigation agencies in these countries are rational because of the time inconsistency problem of information. I argue instead, using panel data from the Philippines, that the problem of poor performance is linked to inherent incentive problems faced by public bureaucracies, how these incentives became entrenched in the path dependence of irrigation development, and how these were reinforced by incentives embedded in irrigation aid, particularly by the moral hazard problem and the fungibility of irrigation aid. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Araral, 2005. "Bureaucratic incentives, path dependence, and foreign aid: An empirical institutional analysis of irrigation in the Philippines," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 38(2), pages 131-157, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:38:y:2005:i:2:p:131-157
    DOI: 10.1007/s11077-005-2309-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Collier, Paul, 1999. "Aid 'Dependency': A Critique," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 8(4), pages 528-545, December.
    2. Merrey, Douglas.J, 1996. "Institutional design principles for accountability in large irrigation systems," IWMI Research Reports H 19766, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Johnson, Ronald N & Libecap, Gary D, 1989. "Bureaucratic Rules, Supervisor Behavior, and the Effect on Salaries in the Federal Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 53-82, Spring.
    4. Gibson, Clark C. & Andersson, Krister & Ostrom, The late Elinor & Shivakumar, Sujai, 2005. "The Samaritan's Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development Aid," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199278855.
    5. Subramanian, A. & Jagannathan, N.V. & Meinzen-Dick, R., 1997. "User Organizations for Sustainable Water Services," Papers 354, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    6. Wijayaratna, C. M. & Vermillion, D. L., 1994. "Irrigation management turnover in the Philippines: strategy of the national irrigation administration," IWMI Research Reports H014218, International Water Management Institute.
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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:755-:d:97694 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Senanayake, Nari & Mukherji, Aditi & Giordano, Mark, 2015. "Re-visiting what we know about Irrigation Management Transfer: A review of the evidence," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 175-186.
    3. Ricks, Jacob I., 2016. "Building Participatory Organizations for Common Pool Resource Management: Water User Group Promotion in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 34-47.

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