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Collaboration and Institutional Endurance in U.S. Water Policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2007

Andrea K. Gerlak
University of Arizona
Tanya Heikkila
Columbia University


Collaborative institutions, which involve the collective decision-making by multiple political agencies, communities, and stakeholders, are becoming increasingly important for addressing policy dilemmas that are not bound within a single jurisdiction. This is especially true in the environmental arena (Wondolleck and Yaffee 2000; Karkkainen 2002; Koontz et al. 2004; Lubell 2004; McKinney and Harmon 2004; Brick et al. 2001; Sabel et al. 2000). In the water management field, for instance, Sabatier, Weible, and Ficker (2005) have argued that the growth of collaborative efforts among small watersheds is so widespread that it has become a new paradigm of management. A considerable body of policy research, particularly on watershed management, has begun to examine the factors that support the emergence of collaborative environmental governance (Lubell et al. 2002; Blomquist 1992; Ostrom 1990). Understanding what factors affect the performance of collaborative institutions has also become an emerging theme in this scholarship (Sabatier, Leach, Lubell, and Pelkey 2005; Leach, Pelkey, and Sabatier 2002; Conley and Moote 2003; Innes and Booher 1999). Empirically and methodologically however, what is often missing from research on collaborative institutions is a clearer picture of what factors support the endurance of collaborative institutions over time.

© 2007 The American Political Science Association

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