Siren Song

Siren Song : Chilean Water Law As a Model for International Reform

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Increasing scarcity, conflict, and environmental damage are critical features of the global water crisis. As governments, international organizations, NGOs, and corporations have tried to respond, Chilean water law has seemed an attractive alternative to older legislative and regulatory approaches. Boldly introduced in 1981, the Chilean model is the world s leading example of a free market approach to water law, water rights, and water resource management. Despite more than a decade of international debate, however, a comprehensive, balanced account of the Chilean experience has been unavailable. Siren Song is an interdisciplinary analysis combining law, political economy, and geography. Carl Bauer places the Chilean model of water law in international context by reviewing the contemporary debate about water economics and policy reform. He follows with an account of the Chilean experience, drawing on primary and secondary sources in Spanish and English, including interviews with key people in Chile. He presents the debate about reforming the law after Chile s 1990 return to democratic government, as well as emerging views about how water markets have worked in practice. The resulting book provides insights about law, economics, and public policy within Chile and lessons for the countries around the world that are wrestling with the challenges of water policy reform.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 172 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 17.78mm | 476g
  • Resources for the Future Press (RFF Press)
  • Washington, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 1891853791
  • 9781891853791
  • 1,569,541

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Table of contents

Introduction: The Chilean Water Model Comes of Age
1. The International Context: The Water Crisis and Debates about Water Policy
Integrated Water Resources Management
Perspectives on Water as an 'Economic Good'
Economic Interpretations of the Fourth Dublin Principle
Stretching the Neoclassical Paradigm: Institutional and Ecological Economics
International Significance of the Chilean Model
Water Markets and Water Policy in Other Countries
2. The Free-Market Model: Chile s 1981 Water Code
The 1980 Constitution: Foundation of the Water Code
'Legislative History' and Political Background
Chile s First Water Code (1951): Private Rights plus Strong Government
Chile s Second Water Code (1967): Swinging Left to Centralized Control
Water Rights after the 1973 Military Coup: Confusion and Neglect
Neoliberal Leanings (1976-1981): Private Property and Free Markets
The Final Version (1981): Compromise and Problems for Future Reform
3. Reforming the Reform? Policy Debate under Chilean Democracy
Reforming the Water Code: Mucho Ruido, Pocas Nueces
Round 1 (1990-1993): The Government Goes Too Far
Alternative Instruments: Water Rights Taxes versus Fees for Nonuse
Growing Emphasis on Economic Instruments and Analysis (1994-1995)
An Aside: Chilean Environmental Law
Round 2 (1996-2003): The Government Moderates Its Position
The Opposition Hardens
Constitutional Challenges of Fees for Nonuse
D j Vu All Over Again? The Revival of Water Rights Taxes
Pros and Cons of the Economic Instruments
The Bottom Line
4. The Results of Chilean Water Markets: Empirical Research since 1990
The Overall Trend: From Partisan Boosters to Greater Balance
Recent Chilean Overviews: Toward a Shared Diagnosis
The Limar River Basin: Poster Child for Chilean Water Markets
Issues Missing from the Research
Chile s National Water Policy in the Late 1990s
Missing Research Issue 1: Social Equity
Missing Research Issue 2: River Basin Management
Institutions for Resolving River Basin Conflicts
Examples of Conflicts and Malfunctioning Institutions
Evaluating the Institutional Framework
Emerging Issues in Chilean Water Policy
5. Conclusions and Lessons about the Chilean Experience
Chile: Looking Back from 2004
Empirical Results of the 1981 Water Code
Political Debate about Reforming the Water Code
International Water Policy: Lessons for Reforms
About the Author
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Review quote

'Timely . . . an impressive, in-depth understanding and thorough analysis of what has been happening in Chile and why.'
Ken Conca, University of Maryland

'A valuable study. It highlights the global view of water issues and international water entities and emphasizes the importance of institutions first, then markets.'
Charles W. Howe, University of Colorado at Boulder
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About Carl J. Bauer

Carl Bauer is a fellow at Resources for the Future. He works in the areas of comparative water law, policy, and management in Latin America and the United States, with a focus on political economy and property rights. Bauer has been a lecturer and post-doctoral researcher in environmental studies at the University of California Berkeley, as well as a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at universities in Chile and Argentina. He has been a consultant for the United Nations, the Global Water Partnership, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other international organizations on matters of water rights, water markets, and economic instruments for water resources management. Bauer s previous book was Against the Current: Privatization, Water Markets, and the State in Chile, which has also been published in Spanish. His current research examines the impacts of electricity deregulation on river basin management in South America and tries to bridge the gap between lawyers, economists, and geographers in environmental regulation.
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