Evaluation in polycentric governance systems: climate change policy in the European Union

Schoenefeld, Jonas (2018) Evaluation in polycentric governance systems: climate change policy in the European Union. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Perceived failures in top-down climate governance and many emerging bottom-up activities have prompted scholars to pay more attention to the promise and limits of polycentric governance, in which activities are spread across many levels, actors, and scales (E. Ostrom, 2010c; E. Ostrom, 2014b). In adopting the Paris Agreement, policy makers also appear to be moving in the direction of greater polycentricity. But many aspects of polycentric governance remain theoretically and empirically underexplored, especially with a view to policy evaluation, a vital but often neglected governance activity. This thesis addresses these gaps by: (1) considering the potential (theoretical) role of policy evaluation in polycentric governance and (2) empirically exploring the case of the European Union, an active adopter and evaluator of climate policy whose climate governance has been described as polycentric. The thesis argues that polycentric governance theory is based on three foundational ideas, namely that that actors can and do self-organize, that context matters in governance, and that governance centres, while independent, interact in order to fully realize the benefits of polycentric governance. These foundational ideas provide a means to explore climate policy evaluation, and to connect with related debates in the evaluation literatures. Fresh empirical data from a new database of 618 climate policy evaluations (1997-2014) suggest that formal (state) actors produced many more evaluations that informal (societal) ones—pointing to limited self-organization and a key role for public actors in evaluation—but that informal evaluations also emerged in empirically detectable and relevant quantities. By using a new coding scheme to analyse a sub-set of the evaluations this thesis reveals that the limited attention to various contextual factors and the fact that climate policy evaluation tends to happen in and focus on individual governance centres restricts the potential travel of evaluative insights from one governance centre to another. In toto, the empirical characteristics equip climate policy evaluation only partially to facilitate polycentric climate governance in the EU.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 9280 not found.
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2019 12:54
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2019 12:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/69535


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