Books by UC Riverside Researchers Tackle Global Environmental Issues

Environmental economist Ariel Dinar leads effort to produce new edition of book on international water-related issues; collaborates with game theory expert Amnon Rapoport on book focusing on conflicts over natural resources

Photo shows Ariel Dinar.

Ariel Dinar is the director of UCR’s Water Science and Policy Center. He is a coauthor of the book “Bridges over Water.” The photo on the front cover of the book was taken by him on the Vltava River in Prague, the Czech Republic.Photo credit: I. Pittalwala, UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — In 2000, Ariel Dinar, now the director of the Water Science and Policy Center at the University of California, Riverside, was invited to teach a class at Johns Hopkins University on the management of international water.  When he found, to his surprise, that no textbook on the subject was available, it inspired him to compile, with several co-authors, a textbook, “Bridges over Water” (World Scientific Publishing Company, 2007).

Now, given the increased interest in management of international water, a second edition of the book — “Bridges over Water” (World Scientific Publishing Company, 2013) — has been prepared.

“In this edition, we updated the content on international water and in-depth analyses on political developments and cooperation between riparian states,” said Dinar, a professor of environmental economics and policy, and a leading expert on issues related to the economics and politics of natural resources, especially water. “We included a new chapter on the principles and practices of negotiation and a new case study on the La Plata Basin in South America.”

“Bridges over Water” places the study of transboundary water conflicts, negotiation, and cooperation in the context of various disciplines, such as international relations, international law, international negotiations, and economics. It demonstrates their application, using various quantitative approaches. The book also considers case-studies of particular transboundary river basins, lakes, and aquifers.

“This book would be of particular interest to students in economics, engineering, water law, international relations and practitioners in water resource management, international water law and water policies,” said Dinar, who teaches, conducts research and publishes on water economics, and international water.

Dinar’s co-authors on the book are Shlomi Dinar at Florida International University; Stephen McCaffrey at the University of the Pacific, Calif.; and Daene McKinney at the University of Texas at Austin.

The preparation of the second edition of “Bridges over Water” was co-funded by the UCR Water Science and Policy Center.

Photo shows Ariel Dinar and Amnon Rapoport.

Ariel Dinar (left) and Amnon Rapoport co-edited the book “Analyzing Global Environmental Issues.” Photo credit: I. Pittalwala, UC Riverside.

Dinar and Amnon Rapoport, a distinguished professor of management in UCR’s A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, are co-editors of a recently published book — “Analyzing Global Environmental Issues” (Routledge, 2013) — that resulted from a 2011 conference on game theory practice in Riverside, Calif.  The book, which deliberately keeps mathematical equations to a minimum, attempts to illustrate the usefulness of game theory and experimental economics in policy-making at multiple levels and for various aspects related to global issues.

“Game theory is an analytical approach to understanding strategic behavior between decisionmakers when they don’t agree with one another and want to maximize their payoff,” Dinar explained. “Game theory is frequently applied to issues such as market shares and agreements between countries.  It can help understand other global issues such as international fisheries, international water management, international trade, environmental agreements over climate change, and even protests and revolts like the recent Arab spring.”

The focus of “Analyzing Global Environmental Issues” is on applications that have policy implications, relevance and, consequently, could lead to the establishment of policy dialogue.

“Many of the chapters in this book are concerned with game theory, so I felt I was in a good position to evaluate the modeling and experimentation,” said Rapoport, who is an international authority on game theory and whose research interests are in individual and interactive decision-making. “It was exciting to see how natural resource specialists used decision-making to analyze problems they encounter in their research work.  They were taking real-life problems, modeling them and then providing solutions to the problems.  To see the applicability of game theory in this way was very interesting.”

The conference leading to “Analyzing Global Environmental Issues” was funded by the Water Science and Policy Center and the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management.

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