Panel: The Mechanisms and Impacts of Collaborative Environmental Governance in China
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Taylor - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Richard Feiock, Florida State University
Discussants:  Edella Schlager, University of Arizona and Youlang Zhang, Texas A&M University

Hierarchical Intervention and Collaborative Design: Environmental Collaboration Among Chinese Local Governments
Lingyi Zhou1, Yixin Dai1 and Richard Feiock2, (1)Tsinghua University, (2)Florida State University

Regional Environmental Cooperation Networks through Interlocal Agreements in China
Liming Suo and Jie Ma, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

The Impacts of Target Oriented Environmental Policies on Air Pollution Control: Evidence from Chinese Cities
Mengmeng Xu, Xi’an Jiao Tong University and Jiannan Wu, Shanghai Jiaotong University

Interlocal Collaboration Network and Environmental Governance Performance in China
Chen Huang, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wenna Chen, City University of Hong Kong and Hongtao Yi, The Ohio State University

Environmental issues pose significant challenges to policy makers in China (Dai 2009; Yi and Liu 2015). While national and local policies have been adopted to protect the environment (Wu et al. 2016), local governments are still faced with a collective action dilemma where local authorities and policy designs are fragmented and insulated, an Institutional Collective Action problem (Feiock 2013). In response to the ineffectiveness of fragmented environmental policies, local jurisdictions in China increasingly resort to collaborative approaches to solving regional environmental issues (Chen Suo and Ma 2015). This panel is devoted to advance our knowledge on the organizing mechanisms of collaborative environmental governance and its impact on environmental performance, with a focus on China.

The panel is composed of four papers. The first two papers are focused on the mechanisms underlying the formation of collaborative relationships among Chinese local governments. Specifically, the paper authored by Zhou, Dai and Feiock, focuses on an understudies area of collaborative environmental government: whether hierarchical intervention stimulates or diminishes horizontal interaction in the collaborative process. They conducted casual mediation analysis and found that authoritative tools can enhance collaborative design directly, thus improving collaborative performance, while incentive and information-based instruments tend to influence the design via stimulating resource dependency and trust building.

The paper by Suo and Ma, focuses on another mechanism that drives the formation and evolution of the collaborative environmental governance network, that is, the role of a few influential core cities on the relationships among other cities. The authors hypothesize that the large scale star network structure dominated by a few traditional core cities has a significant influence on the cooperative network, but the effect will gradually weaken over time. They conducted a series of Exponential Random Graph Models and regression analyses, and preliminary results are in support of the hypotheses.

The next two papers focuses on the impact of collaborative environmental governance. The paper by Xu and Wu focuses on the impact of target oriented environmental policies, collectively designed under collaborative environmental governance, on air pollution control performance in the Chinese cities. Based on a panel data regression analysis, they find empirical support for the positive impacts of performance goal setting, and the interaction effects of the quantities performance targets and levels of performance targets on air quality improvement.

The last paper, by Huang, Chen and Yi, presents an alternative approach to studying the impact of collaborative environmental governance through studying how interlocal collaboration network affects environmental governance in a local policy network in China. With a network/spatial autoregressive model, they investigate the impact of policy network participation on town level water performance. Preliminary results indicate strong support for the existence of network and spatial effects.

This panel fits the theme of 2018 APPAM conference in multiple ways. It focuses explicitly on innovative collaborative mechanisms and their performance. It addresses the importance of evidence-based policy at multiple levels of government. The focus on collaborative environmental governance also highlights attention to how diverse set of policy actors engage and learn from each other.