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Price, D. H., & Brewer, D. D. The relationship between power and position in irrigation networks in Egypt's Fayoum oasis. Paper presented at the meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association, Seattle, March, 1996. Full paper available at SSRN:

In ten irrigation networks in Egypt's Fayoum Oasis, farmers rated the power of every farmer in the network to instigate others to engage in canal maintenance.  Farmers' ratings were submitted to cultural consensus analysis to obtain an aggregate estimate of each farmer's power.  In each network, there is a negative relationship between power and irrigation network rank position, such that upstream farmers are perceived to be more powerful than downstream farmers.  This relationship is fairly strong in irrigation networks that do not rely on pump water delivery technology but weak in irrigation networks that rely on pumps to deliver water to farmers' fields. These results suggest the impact of technology on social structure. 

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