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Incentives to Cooperate and Fairness Norms in the Provision of Water: Cases of Namibian Land Reform Projects

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Falk, Thomas; Lohmann, Dirk; Azebaze, Nadege; Kruger, Bertus; Kirk, Michael
Conference: Shared Resources in a Rapidly Changing World, European Regional Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Agricultural University, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Conf. Date: September 14-17
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7689
Sector: Grazing
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Africa
Subject(s): water management
land tenure and use
ecological economics--models
Abstract: "Achieving cooperation in natural resource management is always a challenge when incentives exist for an individual to maximise her short term benefits at the cost of a group. Various case studies demonstrated, however, that cooperation is possible to achieve. We assess the example of cooperation in water supply in land reform projects in Namibia. In the context of the Namibian land reform, beneficiaries share the operation and maintenance of water infrastructure in order to gain economies of scale. Taking a broad summary of the socio-ecological system as a starting point we assess how alternative fairness norms affect the probability of cooperation. We applied diverse complementary methods i.e. framework based explorative assessments, theory, ecological-economic modelling, and economic experiments in order to understand the cooperation challenges of Namibian land reform beneficiaries. In particular the simulation model based experiments produced not only knowledge but provided support to stakeholders in their decision making and institution building. Our study provides evidence that different fairness norms overlap. Land reform beneficiaries increase their contributions as the other group members increase their payments, as they are more productive and as they own more livestock. Different people carry simultaneously different fairness norms and make decisions considering the overall context. This means at the same time that a person who does not follow a particular fairness norm is not necessarily only materially self-interested."

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