NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Jedidiah Brewer

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Working Papers

March 2007Water Markets in the West: Prices, Trading, and Contractual Forms
with Robert Glennon, Alan Ker, Gary D. Libecap: w13002
Rising urban and environmental demand for water has created growing pressure to re-allocate water from traditional agricultural uses. The evolution of water markets has been more complicated than those for other resources. In this paper, we first explain these differences by examining water rights and regulatory issues. Second, we place our research in the context of the economics literature on water marketing. Third, we present new, comprehensive data on prices and the extent, nature, and timing of water transfers across 12 western states from 1987-2005. We find that prices are higher for agriculture-to-urban trades versus within-agriculture trades, in part, reflecting the differences in marginal values between the two uses. Prices for urban use are also growing relative to agricultural...

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