Tracing Process to Performance of Collaborative Governance: A Comparative Case Study of Federal Hydropower Licensing

Abstract: Despite collaborative governance’s popularity, whether collaboration improves policy performance remains uncertain. This study assesses the link between collaborative decision making and licensed environmental management protocols in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) process for licensing hydropower facilities in the United States. Using results from a previous study of FERC relicensing (Ulibarri, forthcoming), one high-, one medium-, and one low-collaboration case were selected. Using documents including meeting minutes, public comments, and issued licenses, I assessed collaboration and license outputs, then conducted process tracing to examine whether and how differences in collaboration produced differences in license quality. High collaboration resulted in jointly developed and highly implementable operating regimes designed to improve numerous resources, while low collaboration resulted in operating requirements that ignored environmental concerns raised by stakeholders and lacked implementation provisions. These results support the hypothesis that collaboration can improve environmental outcomes, revealing the pragmatic value of collaboration. [Correction added on 13 January 2015, after first online publication: the occurrences of ‘0’ in the abstract were erroneous and have now been corrected.]


License CC BY-NC-ND
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 110 - American
Pedagogical Note Not Yet