The theoretical foundation of water market reforms presumes that such institutions will allow water to be traded from relatively low-value to higher-value uses and simultaneously accomplish many of the economic and environmental objectives ascribed to water resource managers. Numerous ex ante analyses have been conducted to model the impacts of entitlement markets, allocations for the environment and other recent legislative changes pertaining to water (see, for instance, Hall, Poulter and Curtotti 1993; Crean et al. 1998). In general, these analyses support the market framework as a technique for allocating water as it becomes increasingly scarce. However, a relative dearth of information exists about the impact of legislative change itself on the citizenry who are required to assimilate and conform to the changing rules within a market setting. This paper explores the impact of the resulting attenuation of property rights on the behaviour of potential buyers and sellers of water in the market for permanent water transfers in NSW. The paper uses a Choice Modelling approach to enumerate the value of a more stable set of property rights.


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