Precipitating Institutional Change: Drought Sinks In
American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship Program
May 9, 2014
How important are windows of opportunity for institutional change? This paper focuses on groundwater-related regulation and assistance in Texas since 1949. Communities adopted a common framework to form local government organizations. These groundwater conservation districts modified the prevailing open-access regime and helped water users coordinate. Droughts focus attention on water-related issues and provided excellent opportunities for change: district formation is found to have been 4.8 times more likely immediately following droughts than following non-drought years. Other factors also supported collective action for district creation: rising groundwater pumping costs, more variable precipitation, and lower farm size inequality.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Windows of opportunity, Drought, Collective action, Common-pool resource management, Water, Texas groundwater conservation districts, Institutional change, Inequality, Buffer value of groundwater, Survival time analysis, Panel data
JEL Classification: Q28, Q25, Q38, H11, D02, P48
Date posted: May 5, 2008 ; Last revised: May 10, 2014