Eric C. Edwards

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Institutional Affiliation: North Carolia State University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2017How Transaction Costs Obstruct Collective Action: Evidence from California’s Groundwater
with Andrew B. Ayres, Gary D. Libecap: w23382
Collective action to remedy the losses of open access to common-pool resources often is late and incomplete, extending rent dissipation. Examples include persistent over-exploitation of oil fields and ocean fisheries, despite general agreement that production constraints are needed. Transaction costs encountered in assigning property rights are an explanation, but analysis of their role is limited by a lack of systematic data. We examine governance institutions in California’s 445 groundwater basins using a new dataset to identify factors that influence the adoption of extraction controls. In 309 basins, institutions allow unconstrained pumping, while an additional 105 basins have weak management plans. Twenty of these basins are severely overdrafted. Meanwhile, users in 31 basins have def...
January 2016An Illiquid Market in the Desert: Estimating the Cost of Water Trade Restrictions in Northern Chile
with Oscar Cristi, Gonzalo Edwards, Gary D. Libecap: w21869
This paper estimates the cost of a policy to restrict water trades to mining firms in northern Chile to protect riparian ecosystems and indigenous agriculture. In response to the policy, mining firms have developed high-cost desalination and pumping facilities to secure adequate water supplies. We develop a methodology and estimate the cost of market transactions that fail to occur due to the policy. Lost trade surplus is estimated at $52 million per year. Without trade restrictions, around 86% of the remaining agricultural water in the region would be transferred to mining.

Published: Eric C. Edwards & Oscar Cristi & Gonzalo Edwards & Gary D. Libecap, 2018. "An illiquid market in the desert: estimating the cost of water trade restrictions in northern Chile," Environment and Development Economics, vol 23(06), pages 615-634. citation courtesy of

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