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Saving the Mekong River Basin


  • Houba, Harold
  • Pham Do, Kim Hang
  • Zhu, Xueqin


The Mekong River (MR) is shared by six countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Over the years there have been both conflict and cooperation on managing the water resources to meet population growth, climate change and the desire for economic development. Currently, the MR Committee (MRC) has weak policy instruments. This paper exploits an axiomatic bargaining approach to examine how China and the MRC might negotiate effective joint management. We investigate what welfare improvements arise from strengthening the MRC and propose an alternative offering for the MR's joint management that is preferable to the status quo from the perspective of all nations. We show that there are little gains from cooperation unless international institutions provide a budget to promote cooperation with China. Alternatively, strengthening the MR Committee has the potential to achieve large welfare improvements.

Suggested Citation

  • Houba, Harold & Pham Do, Kim Hang & Zhu, Xueqin, 2011. "Saving the Mekong River Basin," MPRA Paper 37407, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37407

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sophie Thoyer & Sylvie Morardet & Patrick Rio & Leo Simon & Rachael Goodhue & Gordon Rausser, 2001. "A Bargaining Model to Simulate Negotiations Between Water Users," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 4(2), pages 1-6.
    2. Houba, Harold, 2007. "Alternating offers in economic environments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 316-324, September.
    3. Ringler, Claudia, 2001. "Optimal Water Allocation In The Mekong River Basin," Discussion Papers 18745, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    4. Haddad, Mohamed S., 2011. "Capacity choice and water management in hydroelectricity systems," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 168-177, March.
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    More about this item


    transboundary river basin; Mekong River; optimization; Nash bargaining solution;

    JEL classification:

    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games

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