Building Consensual Institutions: Networks and the National Estuary Program

Authors

  • Mark Schneider,

  • John Scholz,

  • Mark Lubell,

  • Denisa Mindruta,

  • Matthew Edwardsen


Mark Schneider is Professor of Political Science, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4392 (mark.schneider@stonybrook.edu). John Scholz is the Francis Eppes Professor of Political Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2230 (john.scholz@fsu.edu). Mark Lubell is Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616. Denisa Mindruta is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4392. Matthew Edwardsen graduated with his BA degree from the Department of Political Science, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4392 and is now serving in the Peace Corps.

Abstract

Currently, many approaches to solving policy problems seek to create community-based, less coercive solutions that are creating the conditions for the birth of new regional governmental institutions. We argue that networks form the core of these emergent structures and that federal programs can play a positive role in developing local networks. Our empirical work compares networks in estuaries included in National Estuary Program with networks in comparable estuaries that were not. We find that the networks in NEP areas span more levels of government, integrate more experts into policy discussions, nurture stronger interpersonal ties between stakeholders, and create greater faith in the procedural fairness of local policy, thus laying the foundation for a new form of cooperative governance.

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