Boundaries, Territorial Disputes, and Water Insecurity: Evidence from the Lower Mekong Basin



On the basis of cross-section and time-series data, we find that water resources within the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB)—an area including large sections of Cambodia and Lao PDR, and the north and northeast regions of Thailand, and the Mekong delta of Vietnam—tend to be more seriously polluted in the transnational areas than in the other areas. Specifically, the estimated coefficients show that political influence on transnational water pollution is more significant in areas near “the international border along which a river runs” (denoted by BORDER2) than in places near “the international border across which a river runs” (denoted by BORDER1). In addition, transboundary water pollution is found to be very sensitive to the dummy of “territorial dispute”. The estimated result also shows that the chance of territorial disputes is higher in BORDER1 than in BORDER2 areas. Finally, ASEAN membership is found to reduce some water pollutants (such as total phosphate) though its effect on the reduction of chemical oxygen demand (COD) is not significant.


Chemical Oxygen Demand Environmental Kuznets Curve Water Quality Station Mekong Delta International Border 



This chapter is part of research supported by the Global Development Award to the first author in 2008. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) provided the primary data on the water quality of the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). In particular, thanks are due to Mr. Dirk Vanderstighelen (DB/GIS-Team Leader of the Technical Support Division, MRC) and Dr. Rajendra P. Shrestha (UNEP) for their help. Our research has also benefited from suggestions from Dr. Ian Campbell (Senior Environmental Specialist, Environment Division at the MRC), Dr. Lyn Squire (Senor Fellow, The Brookings Institution) and other participants at the Eighth Annual Conference of the Global Development Network (Brisbane, Australia, 27–31 January 2008).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Brookings InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Regional Science Association of China at Peking UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.National Development and Reform CommissionBeijingChina

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