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http://ssrn.com/abstract=539023
 
 

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The Coase Theorem and Western U.S. Appropriative Water Rights


C. Carter Ruml


Independent; Stanford University - Stanford Law Paper Requests; Princeton University - Department of Geosciences; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs


Natural Resources Journal, Vol. 45, No. 1, February 2005

Abstract:     
The Article analyzes the prior appropriation system in the Western U.S. as a compelling application of the Coase Theorem. In the overall prior appropriation system, few statutory transfers occur, but there are thriving transfer markets in the smaller-scale context of water districts. This suggests that the system at large is not at Coase Equilibrium, but that Equilibrium does prevail inside the water institutions. Institutions facilitate low transaction costs and secure property rights, and catalyze an iterative process that tends toward Coase Equilibrium. The Article makes policy recommendations regarding the formation of larger-scale water institutions to reduce deadweight losses by expanding the scope of Coase Equilibrium within the prior appropriation system.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: Coase Theorem, prior appropriation, water rights, waste, abandonment, forfeiture, historical use requirement, rivers, water institutions, irrigation districts, American West, Ellickson, Thompson, Coase, Howe

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Date posted: May 3, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Ruml, C. Carter, The Coase Theorem and Western U.S. Appropriative Water Rights. Natural Resources Journal, Vol. 45, No. 1, February 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=539023

Contact Information

C. Carter Ruml (Contact Author)
Independent ( email )
No Address Available
Stanford University - Stanford Law Paper Requests
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
Princeton University - Department of Geosciences
Guyot Hall, Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544-1003
United States
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
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