Well-fare Economics of Groundwater Development
May 12, 2015Inclusion and Shared Prosperity

Hanan Jacoby will explore South Asia’s groundwater dilemma through the lens of welfare economics.

Groundwater is a hidden yet vital resource. Its exploitation has been instrumental in raising agricultural productivity and reducing rural poverty in South Asia, a region that accounts for nearly half of global groundwater used for irrigation. Over the past three decades, there has been an explosion of private investment in borewells and mechanized pumps, allowing access to groundwater to be widely shared. But this profusion of drilling and pumping has also led to serious groundwater depletion.

In this talk, Hanan Jacoby will explore South Asia’s groundwater dilemma through the lens of welfare economics. He will ask: What are the externalities associated with groundwater exploitation and are they quantitatively important? How large are the rents from groundwater extraction and who captures them? Do markets efficiently allocate groundwater across cultivators? And, what kinds of policies can arrest groundwater depletion? The talk will draw on evidence from India and Pakistan from a variety of sources ranging from agricultural censuses to specialized surveys. 

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2015

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    Hanan Jacoby, Lead Economist

    Hanan Jacoby is a lead economist in the Agriculture and Rural Development unit. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1989. Before joining the Bank in 1998, he taught at the University of Rochester and also visited Princeton, Penn, and IFPRI. Mr. Jacoby has wide-ranging interests in agriculture, rural institutions, and human capital and has published articles on land tenancy, groundwater markets, rural roads, risk-coping, child nutrition and schooling, and the economics of marriage in journals such as American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Journal of Political Economy, and Review of Economic Studies. He currently serves as associate editor for Journal of Development Economics and Economic Development and Cultural Change.
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    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Director of Research

    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is the Director of Research in the World Bank. After joining the Bank in 1989 as a Young Economist, she has held different positions, including Director of Development Policy, Chief Economist of Financial and Private Sector Development Network, and Senior Research Manager, doing research and advising on financial sector and private sector development issues.
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    Richard Damania, Lead Environmental Economist, World Bank

    Richard Damania is the Global Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Water Practice. Prior to this he was the Lead Economist of the Africa Sustainable Development Department with responsibility for infrastructure, environment and social issues. He has also served as Lead Economist in the South Asia and Latin America and Caribbean Regions of the World Bank. Before joining the World Bank he was Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide in Australia and has held numerous advisory positions at government and international organizations. He has published extensively with over 100 papers that span matters ranging from applied game theory to natural resource economics and the economics of regulation. He has pioneered work on the intersection of conservation biology and economics and serves on the Editorial Board of several academic journals in natural resource economics and management.
  • The Policy Research Talks showcase the latest findings of the research department and their implications for World Bank operations. The goal of the monthly event is to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and operational staff, so that we can challenge and contribute to the World Bank's intellectual climate and re-examine conventional wisdom in current development theories and practices.
  • Date: May 12, 2015
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