Esther DELBOURG

PhD Topic: Empirical analysis of water management as a scarce resource and an input for food production and trade
Advisor: Eric Strobl
Abstract:

The first article of my Ph.D. thesis, co-authored with Eric Strobl, empirically addresses the issues of externalities and strategic choices of cooperation in African transboundary water basins. It specifically observes how upstream-downstream country pairs, constrained by natural geographical asymmetries, choose to interact in a cooperative or conflictive way according to variations in their quantity of water available, namely their streamflow.

My second article, co-authored with Prof. Shlomi Dinar is entitled “The Globalization of Virtual Water Flows: explaining Trade Patterns of a Scarce Resource.” The burgeoning literature on embedded or “virtual” water has proved the limited power of water endowments in shaping countries' production and trade strategies of food. Indeed, water is only part of the inputs required in the production of crops and livestock, such as labor, capital, technology, subsidies, climate, land, etc. Yet there are still important lacks in our understanding of virtual water trade patterns and how they react to variations in the many outputs that determine the overall opportunity costs of production within countries. The paper intends to provide further explanation of virtual water trade patterns at the dyadic level of study. We empirically test and explain volumes of bilateral global virtual water flows between 1994 and 2007 based on the performance of relative political, economic and historical factors as well as water and land endowments.