From drought to flood: environmental constraints and the political economy of civic virtue
Galassi, Francesco L. (2002) From drought to flood: environmental constraints and the political economy of civic virtue. Working Paper. Coventry: University of Warwick, Department of Economics. Warwick economic research papers (No.643).
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The paper models co-operative engagement under varying environmental constraints giving rise to different forms of collective action problems, specifically focussing on water management in pre-industrial societies. I show that societies where water availability is strongly seasonal develop no mechanism to encourage society-wide co-operative behaviour because the benefits of water storage are fully excludable. With pre-industrial technology water storage is a pure club good, and optimal club size can be shown to be very small under credible parameter values, converging to 1 in some cases (private good). The social consequences of the environmental constraint include strongly circumscribed co-operation and rent seeking. In contrast, areas where water management involved flood control and irrigation develop society-wide institutions based on self-sustaining co-operative engagement assisted by external policing. The model thus offers an explanation of varying levels of "civic virtue" in different areas.
|Item Type:||Working or Discussion Paper (Working Paper)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Social choice, Group decision making, Environmental ethics, Natural disasters -- Social aspects, Cooperation|
|Series Name:||Warwick economic research papers|
|Publisher:||University of Warwick, Department of Economics|
|Place of Publication:||Coventry|
|Number of Pages:||26|
|Status:||Not Peer Reviewed|
|Access rights to Published version:||Open Access|
Banfield, E.C., (1958): The Moral Basis of a Backward Society. (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press)
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