NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Robert O'Brien

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Working Papers and Chapters

July 2010An Integrated Assessment of Water Markets: Australia, Chile, China, South Africa and the USA
with R. Quentin Grafton, Clay Landry, Gary D. Libecap, Sam McGlennon: w16203
The paper provides an integrated framework to assess water markets in terms of their institutional underpinnings and the three ‘pillars’ of integrated water resource management: economic efficiency, equity and environmental sustainability. This framework can be used: (1) to benchmark different water markets; (2) to track performance over time; and (3) to identify ways in which water markets might be adjusted by informed policy makers to achieve desired goals. The framework is used to identify strengths and limitations of water markets in: (1) Australia's Murray-Darling Basin; (2) Chile (in particular the Limarí Valley); (3) China (in particular, the North); (4) South Africa; and (5) the western United States. It identifies what water markets are currently able to contribute to integrated w...
March 2010Water Markets: Australia's Murray-Darling Basin and the US Southwest
with R. Quentin Grafton, Clay Landry, Gary D. Libecap: w15797
Fresh water supplies increasingly are under stress in many parts of the world due to rising populations, higher per capita incomes and corresponding consumption, greater environmental concerns, and the effects of climate change. Water rights and markets are part of the institutional menus for responding to these problems. We examine water markets in both Australia’s MDB and the western US and their prospects for addressing water scarcity. The two regions share a number of important similarities including: climate variability that requires investment in reservoirs to make water available in low-rainfall periods; the need for internal and cross-border (state) water management; an historical major allocation of water to irrigators; increasing competition among different uses (agricultural, en...

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