Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Saving the Mekong River Basin

Houba, Harold and Pham Do, Kim Hang and Zhu, Xueqin (2011): Saving the Mekong River Basin. Published in:

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The Mekong River (MR) is shared by six countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Over the years there have been both conflict and cooperation on managing the water resources to meet population growth, climate change and the desire for economic development. Currently, the MR Committee (MRC) has weak policy instruments. This paper exploits an axiomatic bargaining approach to examine how China and the MRC might negotiate effective joint management. We investigate what welfare improvements arise from strengthening the MRC and propose an alternative offering for the MR's joint management that is preferable to the status quo from the perspective of all nations. We show that there are little gains from cooperation unless international institutions provide a budget to promote cooperation with China. Alternatively, strengthening the MR Committee has the potential to achieve large welfare improvements.

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