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Determinants of Collective Action in the Commons: An Empirical Study of Irrigation in China

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Wang, Yahua; Chen, Chunliang; Tao, Ye
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 5
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 18-21, 2014
Date: 2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9402
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): collective action
common pool resources
irrigation
labor
Abstract: "Irrigation systems have long been used as an important case for studying collective action in the empirical common pool resources (CPRs) literature. Based on a large-scale representative survey of Chinese rural areas, we use econometric analysis to examine the factors that influence collective action in the commons. The novelty of the current study is the introduction of a new ordered collective irrigation measure based on different types of rural irrigation and the subsequent study of labor outflow, a rarely explored but crucial variable in developing countries, and other factors affecting collective irrigation participation. We found that labor outflow had an adverse effect on participation in collective irrigation, and in cases of close proximity to urban centers or towns, widened inequality, and when occurring in hilly areas and areas with historically scarce water resource, the presence of fewer household laborers and poor water endowment tend to reduce the incentives to participate in collective irrigation. These findings remain robust for various equation specifications, taking into account measurement errors on both the dependent and control variables sides, thus contributing some new insights to the existing CPRs literature."

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