Advertisement

The Downgrading Effect of Abuse of Power on Trust and Collective Action in Bulgaria’s Irrigation Sector

  • Insa Theesfeld

Abstract

Bulgaria’s irrigation facilities have largely deteriorated, property rights over the infrastructure are ambiguous and water loss in the system at present amounts to 70%. Thus, the Bulgarian government is currently attempting to formally reform the sector by implementing collective action management schemes. In analyzing the possible success of this envisaged local cooperation, I draw on Ostrom’s (2007) development of collective action theory. In her theoretical framework, Ostrom posits variables affecting the likelihood of undertaking diverse forms of collective action leading to positive or negative results for others. The core relationships affecting cooperation are between reputation, trust, and reciprocity. In turn, eight structural variables influence these core relationships: one of them being the “heterogeneity of participants“. In the following, empirical evidence from Bulgaria’s irrigation sector is provided to explain how incongruity of rules helps to maintain opportunistic strategies, how various transactions in the foundation of a water user association are affected by abuse of power, and how low the level of trust in formal actors actually is. Based on that, I examine one detailed link in Ostrom’s theory, namely between heterogeneity of participants and trust, showing in particular that the interdependency between abuse of power and decrease in trust produces a downgrading effect on collective action.

Keywords

Bulgaria Collective action theory Heterogeneity of participants Irrigation Trust 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agrawal, A. (2001). Common property institutions and sustainable governance of resources. World Development, 29, 1649–1672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baland, J. -M., & Platteau, J. -P. (1998). Division of the commons: A partial assessment of the new institutional economics of land rights. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 80, 644–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blomquist, W., Dinar, A., & Kemper, K. (2005) Comparison of institutional arrangements for river basin management in eight basins(Working Paper No 3636). Washington, D.C.: World Bank Policy Research.Google Scholar
  4. Chambers, R. (1988). Managing canal irrigation: Practical analysis from South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Chavdarova, T. (2002). The informal economy in Bulgaria: Historical background and present situation. In R. Neef & M. Stanculescu (Eds.), The social impact of informal economics in Eastern Europe(pp. 56–76). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  6. Danchev, A. (2005). Social capital influence on sustainability of development. Case study of Bulgaria. Sustainable Development, 13, 25–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dobrinsky, R. (2000). The transition crisis in Bulgaria. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 24, 581–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Furubotn, E., & Richter, R. (2000). Institutions and economic theory: The contribution of the new institutional economics.Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gächter, S., Herrmann, B., & Thöni, C. (2004). Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socioeconomic background: Survey and experimental evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 55, 505–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hagedorn, K. (2004). Property rights reform on agricultural land in Central and Eastern Europe. Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, 43, 409–438.Google Scholar
  11. Hagedorn, K., Arzt, K., & Peters, U. (2002). Institutional arrangements for environmental co-operatives: A conceptual framework. In K. Hagedorn (Ed.), Environmental cooperation and institutional change: Theories and policies for European agriculture (pp. 3–25). Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  12. Hurrelmann, A., Murray, C., & Beckmann, V. (2006). Social capital and leadership: Rural cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. Society and Economy, 28, 219–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Korf, B. (2004). Conflict, space and institutions: Property rights and the political economy of war in Sri Lanka. Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 19. Aachen: Shaker.Google Scholar
  14. Meinzen-Dick, R. Raju, K. V., & Gulati, A. (2002). What affects organization and collective action for managing resources? Evidence from canal irrigation systems in India. World Development, 30, 649–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nenovsky, N., & Koleva, D. (2002). Bulgaria. In R. Neef & M. Stanculescu (Eds.), The social impact of informal economics in Eastern Europe(pp. 49–55). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  16. Ostrom, E. (1992). Crafting institutions for self-governance irrigation systems. San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Ostrom, E. (2007). Collective action theory. In C. Boix & S. C. Stokes (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of comparative politics(pp. 186–208). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Ostrom, E., Gardner, R., & Walker, J. (1994). Rules, games and common-pool resources. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  20. Paldam, M. (2001, July). Social capital and sustainability.Paper presented at the DSE forum Berlin on "Sustainable development with a dynamic economy", Berlin.Google Scholar
  21. Paldam, M., & Svendsen, G. T. (2000). Missing social capital and the transition in Eastern Europe. Aarhus: University of Aarhus.Google Scholar
  22. Penov, I., Theesfeld, I. & Gatzweiler, F. (2003). Irrigation and water regulation systems in transition: The case of Bulgaria in comparison with Latvia, East Germany and Romania. In F. Gatzweiler & K. Hagedorn (Eds.), Institutional change in Central and Eastern European agriculture and environment,Vol. 3, Budapest and Berlin: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Humboldt University of Berlin.Google Scholar
  23. Pistor, K. (2002). The demand for constitutional law. Constitutional Political Economy, 13, 73–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pretty, J., & Ward, H. (2001). Social capital and the environment. World Development, 29, 209–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Putnam, R.. D. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy.Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Roland, G. (2000). Transition and economic: Politics, markets, and firms. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Rose-Ackermann, S. (2001). Trust and honesty in post-socialist societies. Kyklos, 54, 415–444.Google Scholar
  28. Tang, S. Y. (1992). Institutions and collective action: Self-governance in irrigation. San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies Press.Google Scholar
  29. Theesfeld, I. (2004). Constraints on collective action in a transitional economy: The case of Bulgaria’s irrigation sector. World Development, 32, 251–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Theesfeld, I. (2005). A common-pool resource in transition. Determinants of institutional change in Bulgaria’s postsocialist irrigation sector:Vol. 23. Institutional change in agriculture and natural resources. Aachen: ShakerGoogle Scholar
  31. Williamson, O. E. (1996). Efficiency, power, authority and economic organization. In J. Groenewegen (Ed.), Transaction cost economics and beyond (pp. 11–42). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Insa Theesfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO)06120 Halle (Saale)Germany

Personalised recommendations