Post-water political-economics

38 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 21 Dec 2021

See all articles by David Zetland

David Zetland

Leiden University - Leiden University College

Date Written: December 21, 2021


Nations persist and thrive when economic and political institutions com- plement each other; they weaken and die when these institutions conflict. The same is true for sustainable water management, which is becoming more diffi- cult as rising demand, falling supply and intensifying climate change increase water scarcity, i.e., making it more costly to reliably supply adequate safe wa- ter. This article uses a “post-water political-economy” (PWPE) perspective to explain how rising water scarcity increases economic and social costs and how economic and political interventions can minimize those costs. These in- terventions must respect economic and social institutions, maintain the gains from trade that feed billions, and consider both risk and uncertainty. This paper applies these ideas to three areas vulnerable to rising water scarcity: urban drinking water, food security, and ecosystem services.

Keywords: climate change, food security, virtual water, agricultural trade

JEL Classification: F51, H42, Q17, Q25

Suggested Citation

Zetland, David, Post-water political-economics (December 21, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

David Zetland (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Leiden University College ( email )

P.O. Box 13228
Den Haag, 2501EE

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