Determinants of collective action on the local commons: a model with evidence from Mexico

Johnson, Jeff Dayton (2000) Determinants of collective action on the local commons: a model with evidence from Mexico. Journal of Development Economics, 62 (1). pp. 181-208.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to ICRISAT researchers only


I develop a model of cooperation in small irrigation systems. I give conditions under which an equalizing redistribution of wealth increases the level of equilibrium cooperation, but also show that some redistributions that increase inequality can also increase cooperation. The distributive rule, a combination of arrangements for maintenance-cost sharing and water allocation, also affects the cooperation level. I estimate statistical models of cooperation for three maintenance indicators using field data from a study of Mexican irrigation societies. Social heterogeneity and landholding inequality are significantly associated with lower maintenance. Distributive rules that allocate water proportionally to landholding size likewise reduce maintenance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper is based on a chapter from my doctoral dissertation in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Thanks are due to Pranab Bardhan, Charles Clarke, Alain de Janvry, Juan Pablo Flores Pe´rez, Sam H. Johnson III, Matthew Rabin, and two anonymous referees. The research received generous financial support from the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Inequality and Economic Performance.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Common property; Cooperation; Irrigation
Author Affiliation: Department of Economics, Dalhousie University(Canada)
Subjects: Social Sciences > Agricultural Economics
Divisions: Other Crops
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2012 03:59
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2012 03:59
Official URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item