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Decentralization and Redistribution: Irrigation Reform in Pakistan's Indus Basin

April 26, 2018

World Bank Malaysia Office, Level 3, Sasana Kijang, No. 2, Jalan Dato’ Onn

  • Does decentralizing the allocation of public resources reduces rent-seeking and improve equity? This paper studies a governance reform in Pakistan’s vast Indus Basin irrigation system. Using canal discharge measurements across all of Punjab province, the analysis finds that water theft increased on channels taken over by local farmer organizations compared with channels that remained bureaucratically managed, leading to substantial wealth redistribution. The increase in water theft was greater along channels with larger landowners situated upstream. These findings are consistent with a model in which decentralization accentuates the political power of local elites by shifting the arena in which water rights are contested.

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  • Dr. Ghazala Mansur

    Dr. Ghazala Mansuri is a lead economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice and is associated with the Development Research Group at the World Bank. She has published extensively in leading journals in economics and development including the American Economic Review, Review of Economic Studies, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and Journal of Development Economics. She also co-authored Localizing Development: Does Participation Work? published by the World Bank. Her work spans three broad areas: poverty and inequality, institutional and governance reform for development, and the economics of household behavior. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston University.

event details

  • when: Thursday, April 26, 2018; 12:30-2:00PM
  • where: World Bank Malaysia Office, Level 3, Sasana Kijang, No. 2, Jalan Dato’ Onn
  • RSVP: Kindly RSVP by Wednesday, April 25, 2018