Decentralization and Redistribution: Irrigation Reform in Pakistan's Indus Basin

48 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2018

See all articles by Hanan G. Jacoby

Hanan G. Jacoby

World Bank - Agriculture and Rural Development Department; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Ghazala Mansuri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Freeha Fatima

World Bank

Date Written: February 21, 2018

Abstract

Does decentralizing the allocation of public resources reduce rent-seeking and improve equity? This paper studies a governance reform in Pakistan's vast Indus Basin irrigation system. Using canal discharge measurements across all of Punjab province, the analysis finds that water theft increased on channels taken over by local farmer organizations compared with channels that remained bureaucratically managed, leading to substantial wealth redistribution. The increase in water theft was greater along channels with larger landowners situated upstream. These findings are consistent with a model in which decentralization accentuates the political power of local elites by shifting the arena in which water rights are contested.

Suggested Citation

Jacoby, Hanan G. and Mansuri, Ghazala and Fatima, Freeha, Decentralization and Redistribution: Irrigation Reform in Pakistan's Indus Basin (February 21, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8352, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3127961

Hanan G. Jacoby (Contact Author)

World Bank - Agriculture and Rural Development Department ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/hjacoby

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Ghazala Mansuri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/gmansuri

Freeha Fatima

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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