This paper examines whether countries consider the welfare of other nations when they make water development decisions. We estimate econometric models of the location of major dams around the world as a function of the degree of international sharing of rivers. We find that dams are more prevalent in areas of river basins upstream of foreign countries, supporting the view that countries free ride in exploiting water resources. We find weak evidence that international water management institutions reduce the extent of such free-riding.
Sheila M. Olmstead
Dam Construction on International Rivers
Countries tend to overdevelop shared rivers if they can pass on some of the costs of dams to their downstream neighbors.
Exporting the Cost of Dams
Last year, former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi proclaimed: "We will defend each drop of Nile water with our blood if necessary." He was referri...
Press Release — Apr 30, 2019