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Decentralization of river basin management : a global analysis

  • Dinar, Ariel
  • Kemper, Karin
  • Blomquist, William
  • Diez, Michele
  • Sine, Gisele
  • Fru, William

Decentralization and increased stakeholder involvement have been major elements of water sector reform as ways to promote sustainable and integrated resource management particularly of river basins. Based on an analytical framework for relating decentralization and stakeholder involvement to improved river basin management, this paper infers several hypotheses about factors associated with greater or lesser likelihood of success of the decentralization process using data from 83 river basins worldwide. The results suggest that physical, political, economic, financial, and institutional characteristics of the basin do affect the process and the level of performance of the decentralization. In particular, the presence of water scarcity may be a stimulus to reform, uniting the stakeholders in the basin and leading to better performance; organized user groups push for the initiation of decentralization reforms but may be associated with costs to the process and difficulty of achieving decentralization; the existence of dispute resolution mechanisms supports stakeholder involvement and improves decentralization performance; where stakeholders accepted greater financial responsibility, complying with tariffs and contributing to the budget for basin management, the decentralization process and performance measures increased; basins with higher percentages of their budgets from external governmental sources benefited from better stability and support and it shows in the performance of the decentralization process.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3637.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3637
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  1. Henk Folmer & Pierre Mouche & Shannon Ragland, 1993. "Interconnected games and international environmental problems," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 313-335, August.
  2. Casella, Alessandra & Frey, Bruno, 1992. "Federalism and clubs : Towards an economic theory of overlapping political jurisdictions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 639-646, April.
  3. Oechssler, Jorg, 1997. "Decentralization and the coordination problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 119-135, January.
  4. Bennett, Lynne Lewis, 2000. "The integration of water quality into transboundary allocation agreements: Lessons from the southwestern United States," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 113-125, December.
  5. Vermillion, D. L. & Garc├ęs-Restrepo, C., 1998. "Impacts of Colombia's current irrigation management transfer program," IWMI Research Reports H023448, International Water Management Institute.
  6. Cerniglia, Floriana, 2003. "Decentralization in the public sector: quantitative aspects in federal and unitary countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 749-776, November.
  7. Lars-Erik Borge, 1996. "The Behavior of Bureaucrats and the Choice Between Single-Purpose and Multi-Purpose Authorities," Public Finance Review, , vol. 24(2), pages 173-191, April.
  8. Vermillion, D. L. & Garces-Restrepo, C., 1998. "Impacts of Colombia's current irrigation management transfer program," IWMI Books, Reports H023448, International Water Management Institute.
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