Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved into My study choice.
This programme cannot be saved.
You are not logged in yet to My study choice Portal. Login or create an account to save your programmes.
Something went wrong, try again later.

Research Environmental Policy Analysis

The department’s leading research theme is governance for sustainability.

Governance has become a key concept in policy research, where it denotes the departure from old-style government to new forms of horizontal and vertical steering. This generally includes a transition from bureaucratic, centralized top-down policies to new forms of decision-making that are more inclusive, more decentralized, more flexible, less hierarchical, and more complex.

Within this context, we investigate several overarching questions. For example, how effective are modern systems of environmental governance in achieving the transition to sustainability? Which theories can best explain variation in the effectiveness of different forms of governance? How can we scrutinize unintended effects? How does a multitude of institutions that co-exist with an issue area interlink, overlap, and interact? How do unsustainable practices change into sustainable ones? And finally, how can we stimulate innovation in terms of governance approaches?

The EPA department focuses on three main Research themes: Governing under Complexity; Governance Innovation and Institutional Change; and Governance Evaluation.

The department is led by Prof. Philipp H. Pattberg.

More Information

  • Research themes

    The research in the department is broadly organised according to three themes.

    Governing under complexity

    The theme Governing under Complexity brings together scholars with an interest in studying complex problems and increasingly complex governance approaches to these problems. Rather than conceptualizing governance in terms of discrete instruments (such as certification schemes or public-private partnerships) we start from the assumption that environmental governance (connecting various levels and scales of governing) constitutes a complex system in itself. Consequently, the expected effects of governing can no longer be simply derived from the aggregate effects of each individual governance instrument. Governance outcomes are rather to be understood as emerging properties of complex adaptive systems. Our interest in governing under complexity also includes questions about the adequate type of governance for a range of complex problems.

    This research theme is led by Prof. Philip Pattberg.

    Governance innovation and institutional change

    The theme Governance Innovation and Institutional Change focuses on the origin, the diffusion, and the effects of changes in the way human societies govern environmental issues. We are particularly interested in the ideational roots of new ideas on governance, the agency in getting such ideas accepted (e.g. by pilots and experiments), and the (international) processes of policy diffusion. Most critically however, we wish to examine whether novel approaches are necessarily also an improvement, for instance from a sustainability perspective or from the perspective of broadly accepted governance principles such as transparency and accountability. The group is particularly strong in analyzing governance innovations in the domain of water and climate, and empirically the focus is often on government policies and (radical) changes therein.

    This research theme is led by Prof. Dave Huitema.

    Governance evaluation

    The theme Governance Evaluation focuses on effectiveness and broader effects (both intended and unintended as well as negative externalities) of policies and governance instruments across a wide range of governance modes, including public policies, market-based certification systems, disclosure-based governance, and public-private partnerships at various levels of policymaking. We are pursuing a broad conceptualization of evaluation, addressing both empirical and normative questions. Our expertize lie in developing and applying innovative evaluative frameworks for existing and emerging governance arrangements. The theme is also geared towards practical implementation of evaluation frameworks, beyond publishing in academic journals, by leading and participating in evaluation studies for local, national, regional and international public authorities and private stakeholders. 

  • Research projects

    The projects are organised according to the three themes.

    (1) Governing under complexity

    (2) Governance innovation and institutional change

    (3) Governance evaluation

  • List of (recent) key publications

    • Chan,S., Boran, I., van Asselt, H., Ellinger, P., Garcia, M., Hale, T., Hermwille, L., Liti Mbeva, K., Mert, A., Roger, C.B., Weinfurter, A., Widerberg, O., Bynoe, P., Chengo, V., Cherkaoui, A., Edwards, T., Gütschow, M., Hsu, A., Hultman, N., Levaï, D., Mihnar, S., Posa, S., Roelfsema, M., Rudyk, B., Scobie, M. & Shrivastava, M.K. (2020).
    • Davis, K.F., Koo, H.I., Dell’Angelo, J., D’Odorico, P., Estes, L., Kehoe, L.J., Kharratzadeh, M., Kuemmerle, T., Machava, D., Pais, A. D.J.R., Ribeiro, N., Rulli, M.C. & Tatlhego, M. (2020). Tropical forest loss enhanced by large-scale land acquisitions. Nature Geoscience, 13(7), 482–494.
    • Hickmann, T., Widerberg, O. E., Lederer, M., & Pattberg, P. H. (2021). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat as an orchestrator in global climate policymaking. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 87(1), 1–8.
    • Koehler, J., Thomson, P., Goodall, S., Katuva, J. & Hope, R. (2021). Institutional pluralism and water user behavior in rural Africa. World Development, 140
    • Morrison, T.H., Adger, W.N., Brown, K., Lemos, M.C., Huitema, D., Phelps, J., Evans, L., Cohen, P., Song, A.M., Turner, R., Quinn, T. & Hughes, T.P. (2019). The black box of power in polycentric environmental governance. Global Environmental Change, 57, 1–8. [101934].
    • Müller, M.F., Penny, G., Niles, M.T., Ricciardi, V., Chiarelli, D.D., Davis, K.F., Dell’Angelo, J., D’Odorico, P., Rosa, L., Rulli, M.C. & Mueller, N.D. (2021). Impact of transnational land acquisitions on local food security and dietary diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(4), 1–9. [e2020535118].
    • Pattberg, P.H., Widerberg, O.E. & Kok, M. (2019). Towards a Global Biodiversity Action Agenda. Global Policy, 10(3), 1.
    • Rosa, L., Chiarelli, D.D., Rulli, M.C., Dell’Angelo, J. & D’Odorico, P. (2020). Global agricultural economic water scarcity. Science advances, 6(18), 1–11. [eaaz6031].
    • Rosa, L., Rulli, M.C., Ali, S., ...Dell’Angelo, J., et al. (2021). Energy implications of the 21st century agrarian transition. Nature Communications, 12, 2319.
    • Röser, F., Widerberg, O., Höhne, N. & Day, T. (2020). Ambition in the making: analysing the preparation and implementation process of the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Climate Policy, 20(4), 415–429.
    • Sanderink, L., Pattberg, P. H., & Widerberg, O. E. (2020). Mapping the Institutional Complex of the Climate-Energy Nexus. In Zelli, F. (Ed.), Governing the Climate-Energy Nexus: Institutional Complexity and Its Challenges to Effectiveness and Legitimacy (1 ed., pp. 43–98). Cambridge University Press.
    • van der Grijp, N.M., van der Woerd, K.F., Gaiddon, B., Hummelshøj, R.M., Larsson, M., Osunmuyiwa, O. & Rooth, R. (2019). Demonstration projects of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: Lessons from end-user experiences in Amsterdam, Helsingborg, and Lyon. Energy Research & Social Science, 49, 10–15.

    For a full list of EPA’s publications, please click this link.