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Collaborative environmental institutions: All talk and no action?


  • Mark Lubell

    (Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis)


Many analysts view collaborative institutions that attempt to forge consensus and build cooperation among conflicting stakeholders as a potential remedy to the pathologies of conventional environmental policy. However, few analyses have demonstrated that collaborative institutions actually increase levels of cooperation, and critics accuse collaborative institutions of all talk and no action. This paper reports the use a quasi-experimental design to compare the levels of consensus and cooperation in coastal watersheds with and without U.S. EPA's National Estuary Programs, one of the most prominent national examples of collaborative institutions in the environmental policy domain. Panel survey data from more than 800 respondents shows that while the level of consensus is higher in NEP estuaries, there is no difference between NEP and non-NEP estuaries in the level of cooperation. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Lubell, 2004. "Collaborative environmental institutions: All talk and no action?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 549-573.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:23:y:2004:i:3:p:549-573
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20026

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eggertsson,Thrainn, 1990. "Economic Behavior and Institutions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521348911, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kristan Cockerill & Lacy Daniel & Leonard Malczynski & Vincent Tidwell, 2009. "A fresh look at a policy sciences methodology: collaborative modeling for more effective policy," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 42(3), pages 211-225, August.
    2. Nicola Ulibarri & Bruce E. Cain & Newsha K. Ajami, 2017. "A Framework for Building Efficient Environmental Permitting Processes," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-17, January.
    3. repec:eee:rensus:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:339-346 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:kap:policy:v:50:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11077-017-9295-z is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Krister Andersson & Clark C. Gibson, 2007. "Decentralized governance and environmental change: Local institutional moderation of deforestation in Bolivia," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 99-123.
    6. Porter, Madeleine & Franks, Daniel M. & Everingham, Jo-Anne, 2013. "Cultivating collaboration: Lessons from initiatives to understand and manage cumulative impacts in Australian resource regions," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 657-669.
    7. Kim Coleman & Cecilia Danks, 2016. "Service-learning: a tool to create social capital for collaborative natural resource management," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 6(3), pages 470-478, September.
    8. Janmaat, John, 2008. "Playing monopoly in the creek: Imperfect competition, development, and in-stream flows," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 455-473, August.
    9. Manuel Fischer & Philip Leifeld, 2015. "Policy forums: Why do they exist and what are they used for?," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 48(3), pages 363-382, September.
    10. Ananda, Jayanath & Proctor, Wendy, 2013. "Collaborative approaches to water management and planning: An institutional perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 97-106.
    11. Janmaat, Johannus A., 2007. "Stakeholder Engagement in Land Development Decisions: A Waste of Effort?," MPRA Paper 6147, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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