Composition Properties in the River Claims Problem

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 13-199/VIII

27 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2013

See all articles by Erik Ansink

Erik Ansink

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics

Hans-Peter Weikard

Wageningen UR - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: December 13, 2013

Abstract

In a river claims problem, agents are ordered linearly, and they have both an initial water endowment as well as a claim to the total water resource. We provide characterizations of two solutions to this problem, using Composition properties which have particularly relevant interpretations for the river claims problem. Specifically, these properties relate to situations where river flow is uncertain or highly variable, possibly due to climate change impacts. The only solution that satisfies all Composition properties is the 'Harmon rule' induced by the Harmon Doctrine, which says that agents are free to use any water available on their territory, without concern for downstream impacts. The other solution that we assess is the 'No-harm rule', an extreme interpretation of the "no-harm" principle from international water law, which implies that water is allocated with priority to downstream needs. In addition to characterizing both solutions, we show their relation to priority rules and sequential sharing rules.

Keywords: river claims problem, sharing rule, Harmon Doctrine, composition axioms, water allocation

JEL Classification: D63, C71, Q25

Suggested Citation

Ansink, Erik and Weikard, Hans-Peter, Composition Properties in the River Claims Problem (December 13, 2013). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 13-199/VIII. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367289 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2367289

Erik Ansink (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

Hans-Peter Weikard

Wageningen UR - School of Social Sciences ( email )

De Leeuwenborch
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen
Netherlands
+31 317 48 24 94 (Phone)
+31 317 48 49 33 (Fax)

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