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Governing the commons : water and power in Pakistan's Indus basin (English)

Surface irrigation is a common pool resource characterized by asymmetric appropriation opportunities across upstream and downstream water users. Large canal systems are also predominantly managed by the state. This paper studies water allocation under an irrigation bureaucracy subject to corruption and rent-seeking. Data on the landholdings and political influence of nearly a quarter million irrigators in Pakistan's vast Indus Basin watershed allow the construction of a novel index of lobbying power. Consistent with a model of misgovernance, the decline in water availability and land values from channel head to tail is accentuated along canals having greater lobbying power at the head than at the tail.


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    Jacoby,Hanan G., Mansuri,Ghazala

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    Policy Research Working Paper

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    South Asia,

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    Governing the commons? : water and power in Pakistan's Indus basin

  • Keywords

    Policy Research Working Papers; marginal product of water; Poverty & Inequality; tragedy of the commons; common pool resource; canal irrigation systems; returns to scale; price of land; irrigation management reform; main canal level; canal water supply; land value assessment; demand for water; concentration of wealth; water for agriculture; lack of water; allocation of water; redistribution of wealth; devolution of authority; downstream water user; large canal system; irrigation management transfer; performance of state; concentration of land; exchange ideas; canal head; exchange of idea; development research group; irrigation department; water theft; Water Allocation; standard error; land price; water availability; vertical line; land productivity; land quality; standard deviation; surface irrigation; water table; secondary canal; tertiary canal; aquifer recharge; groundwater condition; cultivated area; irrigation channel; land inequality; political power; irrigation water; main canals; individual farmer; high bribe; surface water; daily discharge; wealth concentration; selection criterion; marginal effect; wealth inequality; variance-covariance matrix; groundwater quality; alternative specification; selection bias; extreme tail; missing value; empirical analysis; spatial variation; exogenous factor; regression model; substantial variation; Health Workers; irrigation agencies; population shift; government agency; dummy variable; groundwater data; civil administration; irrigation canal; government post; family land; landowning household; size distribution; greater access; robustness check; private investment; water deprivation; groundwater recharge; land purchase; market premium; channel maintenance; asset portfolio; wealth distribution; agricultural household; Tax Administration; transactions cost; water contract; empirical implication; marginal value; groundwater level; local knowledge; local revenue; property right; hard copy; median length; groundwater pumping; legal entitlement; equitable allocation; exogenous probability; positive marginal; water right; local politician; water distribution; land sale; agricultural output; demand schedule; quadratic equation; deadweight loss; water entitlement; allocation system; canal closure; physical evidence; downstream farmer; canal maintenance; empirical literature; high irrigation; theoretical model; unit increase; regulatory enforcement; political-economy model; welfare costs; social planner; groundwater aquifer; provincial irrigation; political context; data set; nuisance parameter; hypothesis testing; sampling variance; test statistic; baseline estimates; relative shift; open access; high probability; net surplus; farmer organization; bureaucratic hierarchy; free market; political influence; agricultural land; development policy; agricultural production; large irrigation; colonial rule; small grower



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Jacoby,Hanan G. Mansuri,Ghazala

Governing the commons : water and power in Pakistan's Indus basin (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 8351,Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP) Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.