Presenters: Tomás Olivier, Syracuse University and Sechindra Vallury, University of Georgia
The extent to which a governing arrangement addresses its local conditions is usually defined in the environmental governance literature as the problem of fit. Moreover, governing arrangements with decision-making authority are capable of choosing and designing specific policy tools in order to address specific policy problems. In this manuscript, we combine insights from the literature on policy design and the literature on common-pool resource governance to assess the extent to which Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs), which were created to provide context-specific solutions to local water problems, producing plans and programs that fit their social-ecological contexts. Using semi-automated text analysis approaches and Qualitative Comparative Analysis, we assess whether plans and programs created by NRDs fit their social-ecological contexts. Results indicate that the biophysical context plays a role in shaping the content of plans and programs, but that broader top-down institutional mandates may play an even stronger role in shaping the outputs produced by NRDs.
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