Panel: Networks and Institutions in Energy and Water Governance
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Taylor - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Emily Bell, University of Arizona
Discussants:  Edella Schlager, University of Arizona and Christopher Blackburn, Georgia Institute of Technology

Inter-Organizational Collaboration within a Polycentric Ecology of Water Policy Games
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, State University of New York, Buffalo

Measuring and Mapping Policy Conflicts in Unconventional Oil and Gas Policy Networks across U.S. States
Hongtao Yi1, Ramiro Berardo1, Christopher M. Weible2, Tanya Heikkila3, Jennifer Kagan2 and Federico Holm1, (1)The Ohio State University, (2)University of Colorado, (3)University of Colorado, Denver

Energy and water governance is dynamic and complex. Technological advances, environmental stressors, and shifting political priorities have prompted significant change in the energy and water sectors, often in ways that challenge traditional forms of governance or involve a diverse array of policy actors in the governance process. Scholars increasingly recognize the crucial role that hard-to-observe factors – such as policy networks and institutions – play in multi-actor natural resource governance. The four papers in this panel use diverse methods and policy contexts to ask how networks and institutional arrangements shape and are shaped by contextual factors.


The first paper, by Emmanuel Boamah, focuses on water governance networks in the Middle Rio Grande valley, an area where water supplies are constrained by changing environmental and social conditions, and in which a diverse array of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities cooperate within multiple internal and external water agreements. Boamah uses data from websites, policy documents, newspapers, and other online sources to create exponential random graph models (ERGMs) to explain the probability of inter-actor collaboration across multiple governance levels in this polycentric system.


The second paper, by Hongtao Yi et al., focuses on another dynamic policy context, unconventional oil and natural gas extraction, where technological changes have opened new resource extraction opportunities and prompted policy conflicts in many states across the U.S. This paper uses the Policy Conflict Framework as a guide to analyze multi-actor policy networks. Using newspaper articles, Yi et al. combine manual coding and machine learning methods to compare variation in policy networks across multiple states and over time, exploring how these networks change in response to different contextual factors.


The third paper, by Saba Siddiki and Chris Koski, shifts the panel’s focus from networks to institutions. Siddiki and Koski focus on state net metering policies, another policy area in which technological change has opened opportunities for new actors to participate in electricity generation. Drawing on policy and secondary energy data, this paper assesses policy design and policy outputs across states and over time, and analyzes how policy outputs change in response to policy, political, and other contextual factors. 


The final paper, by Elizabeth Baldwin and Min Woo Ahn, analyzes the effects of institutional and network factors on states’ efforts to transition to a lower carbon energy sector. Using archived regulatory documents, they identify three different institutional arrangements that have emerged to guide electricity procurement in U.S. states: regulatory, market-oriented, and stakeholder-driven planning, and analyze how these divergent arrangements shape utility-level clean energy outcomes.


These four papers respond to the conference theme of “Evidence for Action: Encouraging Innovation and Improvement.” All four papers examine how policy networks and institutions adapt in response to changing conditions, and offer insights for policy makers interested in managing complex, dynamic, multi-actor natural resource governance challenges. These papers echo the conference theme of iteration and collaboration in responding to policy challenges and use novel methods to capture and measure policy innovation.