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Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa

Els Lecoutere UGent, Ben D'Exelle and Bjorn Van Campenhout (2010) MICROCON Research Working Papers. p.1-27
abstract
Does water scarcity induce conflict? And who would engage in a water scarcity conflict? In this paper we look for evidence of the relation between water scarcity and conflictive behavior. With a framed field experiment conducted with smallholder irrigators from semi-arid Tanzania that replicates appropriation from an occasionally scarce common water flow we assess what type of water users is more inclined to react in conflictive way to scarcity. On average, water scarcity induces selfish appropriation behavior in the experiment which is regarded conflictive in the Tanzanian irrigator communities where strong noncompetition norms regulate irrigation water distribution. But not all react to water scarcity in the same way. Poor, marginalized, dissocialized irrigators with low human capital and with higher stakes are most likely to react with conflictive appropriation behavior to water scarcity. Viewed a political ecology perspective we conclude that circumstances in Tanzania are conducive to resource scarcity conflicts. Water scarcity and water values are increasing. Water governance institutions entail exclusionary elements. Moreover, a higher likelihood to react in a conflictive way to water scarcity coincides with real economic and political inequalities which could form a basis for mobilization for more violent ways of competing for scarce resources.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
misc (other)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
conflict, scarcity, resources
in
MICROCON Research Working Papers
pages
27 pages
publisher
MICROCON: A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex
place of publication
Brighton
ISBN
978 1 85864 942 0
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
V
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
1023761
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1023761
alternative location
http://www.microconflict.eu/publications/RWP31_EL_BD_BVC.pdf
date created
2010-08-16 13:08:21
date last changed
2010-08-24 10:20:56
@misc{1023761,
  abstract     = {Does water scarcity induce conflict? And who would engage in a water scarcity
conflict? In this paper we look for evidence of the relation between water scarcity and
conflictive behavior. With a framed field experiment conducted with smallholder irrigators
from semi-arid Tanzania that replicates appropriation from an occasionally scarce common
water flow we assess what type of water users is more inclined to react in conflictive way to
scarcity. On average, water scarcity induces selfish appropriation behavior in the experiment
which is regarded conflictive in the Tanzanian irrigator communities where strong noncompetition
norms regulate irrigation water distribution. But not all react to water scarcity in
the same way. Poor, marginalized, dissocialized irrigators with low human capital and with
higher stakes are most likely to react with conflictive appropriation behavior to water scarcity.
Viewed a political ecology perspective we conclude that circumstances in Tanzania are
conducive to resource scarcity conflicts. Water scarcity and water values are increasing.
Water governance institutions entail exclusionary elements. Moreover, a higher likelihood to
react in a conflictive way to water scarcity coincides with real economic and political
inequalities which could form a basis for mobilization for more violent ways of competing for
scarce resources.},
  author       = {Lecoutere, Els and D'Exelle, Ben and Van Campenhout, Bjorn },
  isbn         = {978 1 85864 942 0},
  keyword      = {conflict,scarcity,resources},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--27},
  publisher    = {MICROCON: A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex},
  series       = {MICROCON Research Working Papers},
  title        = {Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa},
  url          = {http://www.microconflict.eu/publications/RWP31\_EL\_BD\_BVC.pdf},
  year         = {2010},
}

Chicago
Lecoutere, Els, Ben D’Exelle, and Bjorn Van Campenhout. 2010. “Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa.” MICROCON Research Working Papers. Brighton: MICROCON: A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.
APA
Lecoutere, E., D’Exelle, B., & Van Campenhout, B. (2010). Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa. MICROCON Research Working Papers. Brighton: MICROCON: A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.
Vancouver
1.
Lecoutere E, D’Exelle B, Van Campenhout B. Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa. MICROCON Research Working Papers. Brighton: MICROCON: A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex; 2010. p. 1–27.
MLA
Lecoutere, Els, Ben D’Exelle, and Bjorn Van Campenhout. “Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa.” MICROCON Research Working Papers 2010 : 1–27. Print.