Panel: How Participation and Program Design Shape Investments in Public Goods
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Thursday, November 8, 2018: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Johnson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Tyler A. Scott, University of California, Davis
Discussants:  Saba Siddiki, Syracuse University and Adam Eckerd, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Sustainable Agriculture and Local Food: A Bottom-up Sustainable Governance Approach Toward Creating a Local Food Economy in North Carolina
Krystal M. Chojnacki, North Carolina State University; Center for Environmental Farming Systems

Can Decentralization Increase Social Capital Among Bureaucrats? Evidence from Health Sector Reform in Honduras
Adriana Molina Garzon, University of Colorado, Tara Grillos, Purdue University, Alan Zarychta, University of Chicago and Krister Andersson, University of Colorado, Boulder

Efforts to improve investments in the provision and production of public goods are central to the achievement of socially and environmentally-desirable outcomes. Such outcomes are increasingly reliant on the contributions of multiple stakeholders, including citizens, professionals, government agencies, and, private and non-profit actors, working to translate values into policy within resource-constrained governance arenas. A renewed wave of interest in the theory of co-production over the past two decades has identified important correlates, key features, and outputs of public goods governance arrangements. It has also emphasized the active role of citizens in (a) the design and planning (co-provision), and (b) delivery (co-production) of collective benefits. While these studies have proven foundational to our understanding of public goods dilemmas, there remains considerable need to integrate novel approaches and channel experimental evidence to improve citizen participation and contributions to local, regional, and globally relevant public goods.

Each of the three papers in this panel utilize an experimental design and rigorous methodologies to examine how participation in resource management and decision-making processes can foster greater investments in public goods. The first paper examines the effect of different decision-making processes (externally assigned, group vote, or deliberative consensus-based process) on willingness to invest effort, time, and money into related decision outcomes. It uses a controlled laboratory experiment conducted in a developing country context to examine the hypothesis that when individuals are engaged in group decision-making regarding the creation of a local public good, they will be more willing to invest in that good over the long-run. The second paper investigates how market incentives and program design shape the co-production of climate mitigation benefits from the forest sector. It uses a carbon offset program as the context for a 3x4 survey experiment (Study 1, N=1,672; Study 2, N=1,000). Participants are asked about the share of land enrolled in the program in response to expected income levels and contract length (no term, 15, 40, 100 years). The third paper analyzes evidence from lab-in-the-field experimental games conducted with 230 Honduran bureaucrats and elected officials to assess the behavioral consequences of decentralization. It examines the ways in which changes in governance structure influence cooperation and social capital among public officials charged with delivering health services to rural communities. 

Together, the three papers integrate lab, field, and survey experimental evidence from the US and abroad pertaining to public goods governance arrangements that span policy domains, sectors, and scales of production and consumption. In doing so, we advance efforts to better understand what strategies for participation and tools for innovation could support on-the-ground efforts for investing in locally- and globally-relevant public goods.