Keywords: collective action, governance structures, institutional change, Poland, property rights, reclamation systems, revalorisation, water associations, institutional economics
Revalorisation of property objects and collective action: the case of reclamation systems in northwest Poland
This article examines two drastic changes in the performance of local water associations in providing local public goods – appropriate levels of water table – in the reclamation system in the Powiat Pyrzyce in the Voivodship Zachodniopomorski in northwest Poland. Employing an institutional economics approach shows the results of processes of revalorisation of the interrelated property objects land and reclamation infrastructure that have been triggered and shaped not only by the drastic political, economic and administrative changes after the breakdown of the socialist regime in Poland in 1990, but also by the prospect of joining the European Union. More precisely, both processes – the discontinuation (from 1990 onwards) and revival (from 2002 onwards) of the local water associations – were mainly determined by changing market conditions together with variances in the ability of state authorities to effectively control and facilitate these associations. Further, the delay in overcoming the period of collective inaction was fostered by the time-delayed and cumulative effects of neglecting the cleaning and the maintenance of secondary ditches.