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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Farmer Cooperation in Participatory Irrigation in South Asia: Insights from Game Theory

1
Aither Consulting, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
2
UniSA Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia
3
School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
4
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad 380015, India
5
Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38000, Pakistan
6
US-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Sindh 76062, Pakistan
7
Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051329
Received: 26 March 2020 / Revised: 20 April 2020 / Accepted: 29 April 2020 / Published: 8 May 2020
Participatory irrigation, where farmers are given greater control and management responsibility, has been a topic of controversy for many years. Initially seen as a panacea for dealing with weaknesses in state-run irrigation, participatory irrigation has generated mixed results, especially in South Asia. Part of the challenge of understanding the conditions that promote and undermine participatory irrigation is that it is seldom deployed in the same way. For example, irrigation fees collected by farmers are not handled in the same manner, even within a single country. In some instances, a large portion of collected monies is retained locally and in others, only a small portion is kept for local use. In this paper, we use game theory to contemplate how the portion of irrigation fees retained locally might impact on the effectiveness of participatory irrigation. We show that there are multiple plausible equilibria, and that allowing farmers to retain more funds locally might shift behaviour from an uncooperative equilibrium to a cooperative outcome. However, we also find that it is unlikely for there to be a singular fix and we use empirical evidence to demonstrate the conundrums of making participatory irrigation sustainable. View Full-Text
Keywords: participatory irrigation management; game theory participatory irrigation management; game theory
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Hone, S.; Crase, L.; Burton, M.; Cooper, B.; Gandhi, V.P.; Ashfaq, M.; Lashari, B.; Ahmad, B. Farmer Cooperation in Participatory Irrigation in South Asia: Insights from Game Theory. Water 2020, 12, 1329.

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