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Chapter 5: Cooperation in Polycentric Governance Systems

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Type: Book Chapter
Author: Koontz, Tomas M.
Book Title: Governing Complexity: Analyzing and Applying Polycentricity
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Location: New York
Page(s): 115-132
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10776
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): Governing Complexity
Abstract: "Cooperation is an important way that decision centres interact in a polycentric governance system. Cooperation in governance has been studied by numerous scholars in the field of 'collaboration,' although such scholarship seldom explicitly sets it within the framework of polycentricity. Cooperation involves multiple decision centres working across boundaries to pursue shared goals, and it is especially prevalent for addressing complex socio-ecological systems. This chapter examines cooperation in the Puget Sound basin, USA, for ecosystem restoration. Against a backdrop of multiple federal, state, local, and tribal jurisdictions making decisions about various ecosystem components, the Washington State Legislature created the Puget Sound Partnership to foster cooperation for restoration efforts. Without comprehensive authority structures to direct restoration actions across system levels, the roles of information and resources are critical. This chapter describes how authority, information, and resources affected cooperation in formation of the Partnership and related Local Integrating Organizations, development of ecosystem recovery plans, and implementation of ecosystem recovery projects. It uses preliminary evidence to explore how we might assess polycentric governance performance in terms of outcomes and processes. Overall the Puget Sound ecosystem restoration efforts exhibit relatively high levels of coherence, representation, and adaptability; relatively low levels of efficiency and accountability; and mixed results on efficacy and network building."

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