Title

Transaction costs in the evolution of transnational polycentric governance

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2017

Abstract

Polycentric systems of governance may help address two key challenges in the transnational governance of socioecological systems, the problems of fragmentation and fit, but there is limited understanding of the processes through which polycentric governance systems emerge. This paper draws on institutional economics and accounts of international regime formation to develop an ideal-type model of the evolution of transnational polycentric governance. In particular, the model highlights systematically different transaction costs across different phases of polycentric governance evolution. These costs result in important trade-offs between building a broad coalition during agenda setting and addressing complexity in implementation. The plausibility of the model is probed using the case of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), drawing on global-level data on REDD+ collaboration, as well as fieldwork in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. This case suggests that low transaction costs in the agenda-setting phase led to a confused vision for what REDD+ should be, ultimately hampering implementation.

DOI

10.1007/s10784-016-9335-8

Publication Title

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

Volume Number

17

Issue Number

5

First Page

639

Last Page

654

ISSN

15679764

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