Title

The embedded economics of water: Insights from economic anthropology

Publication Date

7-1-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Anthropology

Publication Title

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water

Volume

7

Issue

4

DOI

10.1002/wat2.1443

Abstract

Over the past two decades, scholars and policy makers have promoted the idea that water can be analyzed and managed according to the principles of economics. Yet, many policy prescriptions based on economic principles have struggled to deliver the results they intend. As such, scholars note the need for alternative approaches to understanding water economies, and many propose that embedded economic perspectives are able to give more holistic and locally grounded insights. In this article, I explain the embedded economic perspective, how it is different from a conventional economic perspective, and how the embedded economics of water makes important contributions to understanding water economies more broadly. I highlight three key areas of embedded economic insight on water derived from recent scholarship in economic anthropology: human meanings and values for water, nonmarket water exchanges, and diverse water economies. I conclude by discussing implications these insights have for interdisciplinary water scholarship. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Value of Water Human Water > Rights to Water Human Water > Methods.

Funding Number

BCS‐1759972

Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation

Keywords

alternative economies, cultural economies, diverse economies, exchange, reciprocity, sharing, water values

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