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Minimising transaction costs in Murray-Darling Basin water reform (DECRA project)

This project seeks to quantify often overlooked transaction costs in large-scale water reform programs to determine if they are minimising over time.

Transaction costs can be thought of as the investment we make to research options, assess alternatives, implement them over time and even alter those choices in due course. Such costs are often taken for granted as just a necessary part of the process, and may not be measured or quantified. But these costs are also often significant in the scheme of programs. This project seeks to gather case study data on a range of recent water reform programs aimed at reallocation resources toward environmental benefits. Both federal and state-based programs will be included. The objective is to identify the magnitude of costs associated with different categories, and their direction over time, such that insights for other jurisdictions and external parties may be formed.

The project (2015-17) is funded by the Australian Research Council under their Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) program. The main focus will be programs in the Murray-Darling Basin in south-eastern Australia.

Project support includes researchers from:

  • The University of New England
  • McMaster University (Canada)
  • The University of Queensland
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