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The Institutional Economics of Water

A Cross-Country Analysis of Institutions and Performance R. Maria Saleth, Senior Institutional Economist, International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka and Adjunct Professor of Agricultural Economics, School of International Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia and Ariel Dinar, Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy, School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside, US
This outstanding new book provides the most detailed and comprehensive evaluation of water reform and water sector performance from the perspectives of institutional economics and political economy.
A Co-publication with The World Bank
Extent: 416 pp
Hardback Price: $168.00 Web: $151.20
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 777 0
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Environmental Economics
  • Institutional Economics
  • Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Water
This outstanding new book provides the most detailed and comprehensive evaluation of water reform and water sector performance from the perspectives of institutional economics and political economy.

Skilfully integrating institutional theory with resource economics, and set against an exhaustive review of the theoretical and empirical literature, the authors develop an alternative methodology to quantitatively assess the performance of institutions in the context of water. This methodology is built on the principle of ‘institutional ecology', the ‘institutional decomposition and analysis’ framework, and the ‘subjective theory’ of institutional change. Using this new methodology, plus information collected through an international survey of 127 water experts, the authors present a detailed empirical analysis of the process of institution-performance interaction in the water sector. Relying on the institutional transaction cost approach and an extensive cross-country review of recent water sector reforms, they also provide evidence on the relative role of various factors which influence the extent and depth of water institutional reforms in 43 countries and regions around the world. The book concludes with far reaching implications for the theory and policy of water sector reform in particular and institutional reform in general.

Unique and up-to-date, this book offers an authoritative review of the important linkages between institutions and performance both in general and water sector contexts. By laying the foundations for future research and policy in this field, it will be of particular relevance and value for institutional economists, natural resource and environmental economists, political scientists, policymakers, donor agencies and students and scholars working on water-related issues.
‘We are both impressed by the book. It merits prominent publication as a far-reaching application of innovative methodologies to an important, and well explained, worldwide policy problem.’
– Randall Calvert, Washington University, St. Louis, US and Thrainn Eggertsson, University of Iceland

‘[The] literature review . . . is one of the best and most comprehensive that I have seen.’
– Daniel W. Bromley, University of Wisconsin, US

‘This is an impressive book . . . [It] will be used by diverse audiences. For scholars interested in the evolution of institutional theory, they will assign students primarily to the first three chapters . . . For scholars in resource economics, they will have them read the last part of the book . . . The strength of the book, however, is bringing both these approaches together within one set of pages.’
– Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University, US
Contents: 1. Water Challenge: An Institutional Diagnosis 2. Understanding Institutions: Nature, Performance, and Change 3. Existing Literature: Approaches, Attempts, and Limitations 4. Evaluating Institutional Linkages: Towards an Alternative Methodology 5. Analytical Framework and Empirical Models 6. Empirical Context: Description and Justification 7. Institutional Changes in the Water Sector: A Cross-Country Review 8. Institution–Performance Linkages: Evidence and Evaluation 9. Institution–Performance Linkages: Robustness and Contextuality 10. Institutional Sequencing and Packaging 11. Conclusions with Implications for Theory and Policy Appendix A: Questionnaire Appendix B: List of Experts who Provided Input and Data Appendix C: Mathematical Analog for Impact-Transmission Channels Bibliography Index