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Payments for Environmental Services (PESs), Institutional Bricolage, and the Performance of Village-managed Irrigation Systems (VMISs) in China?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Chai, Ying; Zhang, Hoaran; Luo, Yong; Wang, Yi; Zeng, Yunmin
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 19-21, 2019
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10454
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): irrigation
local institutions
Abstract: "This paper explores the effect of payments for environmental services (PESs) on village -managed irrigation systems (VMISs) in China by solving the issue of positive externality. Based on critical institutionalism theory, this study divides the institutional bricolage into four types, formed through the combination of PESs and local institutions in relation to irrigation systems. We infer transaction cost reduction and trust-strengthening mechanisms as the two pathways for the institutional bricolage to illustrate the process, whereby PESs enable VMISs to internalize positive externality. We conducted a field survey in Xuwen county in Guangdong province, where PESs were implemented as a pilot policy in terms of economic instruments to promote the conservation of agricultural systems in China. Based on 155 responses at the household level, using factor analysis and OLS regression, this empirical analysis assesses the effect of the PES policy on the three dimensions of VMIS performance, namely environmental, economic, and equitable (3E) benefits. In conclusion, this study confirms that PES is an effective means of improving the performance of VMISs in terms of 3E benefits, because it enables consistency between private and social benefits for the village engaged in managing irrigation systems. This study also finds that PES is of greater benefit to villages with local institutions because local institutions can reduce the transaction costs of policy implementation and strengthen trust between the village and the farmers through supportive policies."

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