Institutions and Collective Action in Irrigation Systems

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"Cultivators using an irrigation system face two kinds of collective action problems: joint investments in the system and the allocation of water from the system. Most irrigation systems will deteriorate rapidly if cultivators fail to devise ways to coordinate their investment and water allocation activities. "Using a theoretical framework derived from institutional analysis and transaction costs economics, I examine the structures of incentives faced by cultivators as these are shaped by rules-in-use and the physical and community systems involved. Information from 47 in-depth case studies of irrigation systems in various parts of the world is used to examine arguments about how various institutional, physical, and community attributes are related to the performance of irrigation systems. In particular, I focus on the differences in incentives, behaviors, and outcomes occurring in community irrigation as contrasted to bureaucratic irrigation systems."



irrigation, agriculture, collective action, water resources, public policy, Workshop