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Abstract

While there is potential for substantial benefits from water entitlement trade, external effects such as salinity may mean that traders cannot capture these benefits. This paper demonstrates that by creating a trading house as a single seller of water entitlements, with trade profits distributed to buyers, it is possible to achieve an allocation of entitlements which gives a social outcome higher than that possible from atomistic competition for entitlements. Such an outcome may be comparable to an optimally set uniform charge for water entitlements, but the trading house mechanism has the advantage that it makes use of trade to generate information on the optimal level of charging in the presence of salinity.

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