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Giving into Peer Pressure: Kansas High Plains Aquifer

AAEA member research published in AJAE

The High Plains Aquifer is one of the largest underground freshwater sources in the world. Groundwater rights adoption stemming from peer influence has accounted for about 11 million acre-feet of extraction from the Kansas portion of the High Plains Aquifer. This is equivalent to 3 years of typical annual extraction. New research suggests that peer influence has contributed to depletion of the Aquifer.

In a new AJAE article titled “The Role of Peer Effects in Natural Resource Appropriation – The Case of Groundwater,” Gabriel Sampson and Edward Perry from Kansas State University look into agricultural irrigation peer influences as well as, the effects and outcomes from the peer influences.

Sampson says, “the presence of nearest neighbor peer effects underscore the need for spatial limitations on pumping and well placement in groundwater management. An example would be minimum well-spacing restrictions. Absent any rules on groundwater exploitation, presence of nearest neighbor peer influence might raise concerns over hotspots of groundwater depletion and spatial crowding in well pumping.”

The article if online and available for a limited time. If you are interested in setting up an interview with Gabriel Sampson, please contact Allison Scheetz in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190