17 March 2010

Water chat with Mike Young

In this one hour, 17 min water chat with Mike Young [27MB MP3], we discuss many important aspects of water policy, from prices to markets.*

Mike co-authored the paper that laid down the foundations of Australia's water rights reform, redefining rights into property that could be traded like land and dividends that would vary with water supplies. It is this paper, with its underlying goal of robustness, that has lead to an explosion in water trading in Australia, with proportionate increases in efficiency in water use and wealth for those who hold water rights. (Those are farmers, btw.)

Besides Mike's research on the creation and evolution of institutions (see also Torrens land titling system, LLCs and the Tinbergen's Law [what?! No wikipedia entry!]), we also discussed his role as a public intellectual -- a role that I am also pursuing. It was very encouraging for me to hear of Mike's successes.

He also recommended the government's National Water Initiative for clear and relevant information on water policy in Australia, and elsewhere.

Bottom Line: You need the right tools for the right job, and those who design those tools need to worry more about communicating to potential users than job security.

* I turned off the tape for us to go to lunch. Instead of continuing to talk water markets, etc., we started to gossip about water, academic careers, etc. -- an untaped but interesting conversation :)

1 comment:

  1. It was the National Competition Policy reforms of the Hawk/Keating Australian governments in the early 1990s that laid the foundations for water trading on the River Murray (http://ncp.ncc.gov.au). Following that, the rules and protocols were developed and agreed to by the various State governments through the Murray-Darling Basin Commission processes

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