Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1549570
 
 

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Water Rights and Human Rights: The Poor Will Not Need our Charity if We Need their Water


David Zetland


Leiden University - Leiden University College

August 11, 2011


Abstract:     
Each year, about 2.8 million people die due to problems with poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Over three-quarters of the dead are children. Some argue that a human right to clean water would improve this situation. This paper shows that human rights are not sufficient to improve access to clean water and argues that it would be more productive to distribute property rights in national waters to citizens. Because property rights --- unlike human rights --- are alienable, citizens (rich and poor) could turn some of their rights into cash that they could use to pay for clean water service. Besides this basic equity outcome, property rights would establish a price of water in proportion to its value and facilitate efficient water allocation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: Human rights, property rights, institutions, political-economy, water markets, water quality, MDGs

JEL Classification: D02, D31, D63, L95, Q25, Q56

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Date posted: February 8, 2010 ; Last revised: October 8, 2012

Suggested Citation

Zetland, David, Water Rights and Human Rights: The Poor Will Not Need our Charity if We Need their Water (August 11, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1549570 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1549570

Contact Information

David Zetland (Contact Author)
Leiden University - Leiden University College ( email )
P.O. Box 13228
Den Haag, 2501EE
Netherlands
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