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Damming the Commons: An Empirical Analysis of International Cooperation and Conflict in Dam Location

Sheila M. Olmstead and Hilary Sigman
Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Vol. 2, No. 4 (December 2015), pp. 497-526
DOI: 10.1086/683205
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/683205
Page Count: 30
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Damming the Commons: An Empirical Analysis of International Cooperation and Conflict in Dam Location
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Abstract

AbstractThis paper examines whether countries consider the welfare of other nations when they make water development decisions. We estimate econometric models of the location of major dams around the world as a function of the degree of international sharing of rivers. We find that dams are more prevalent in areas of river basins some distance upstream of foreign countries, supporting the view that countries free ride in exploiting water resources. We find some evidence that international institutions, in particular multinational financing and international water management treaties, may mitigate this free riding.

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