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Keywords:

  • collaborative;
  • collaboration;
  • citizen participation;
  • IAD framework;
  • stakeholder;
  • local policy;
  • land use;
  • farmland preservation

There is a growing movement toward collaborative stakeholder participation in environmental policy. Rather than calling for a reliance on government officials to solve environmental problems, this approach calls for empowering a community of stakeholders to contribute meaningfully. Scholars examining citizen participation have investigated the performance of such efforts. This study examines one important aspect of performance, the impact of stakeholder participation on policymaking at the local level. A multiple-case analysis of county-level, community-based task forces working on farmland preservation planning in Ohio, U.S., reveals patterns of policymaking processes and the near-term impacts of collaborative planning. These patterns are linked to scholarship using prior empirical studies as well as the Institutional Analysis and Development framework, which integrates physical, social, and institutional variables to examine collective decision-making related to natural resources. Results indicate that the degree of policy change is associated closely with local contextual factors, rather than internal group factors often emphasized in studies of citizen advisory committees and collaborative groups.