NSF Research

Project #1: Governing Complex Commons: Policy Networks and the Local Ecology of Games – NSF Grant SES-0921461 (2010-2014).

This research develops an “ecology of games” framework to understand how political actors in complex policy systems interact with each other, and how these interactions affect the potential outcomes of collective-action dilemmas. We study the ecology of games in the context  water management in coastal watersheds or estuaries. Watersheds provide an excellent research setting because they encompass multiple collective-action problems (e.g., flood control, water supply, water quality, and protection of biodiversity, etc.), many different actors have a stake in the resolution of these problems (e.g., landowners, environmental groups, utility companies, governmental agencies), and multiple venues generally have jurisdiction over the issues . Our ultimate aim is to understand the factors most critical in affecting policy decisions and behaviors in complex institutional settings.

 Click here to read the NSF funded proposal (click here for a version in Spanish).

 Click here to access data collected in the Parana River Delta 

Working Papers:

1. Berardo, Ramiro, John Scholz, and Mark Lubell. “Who Participates in an Ecology of Policy Games and Why? A Comparison Across Weakly and Strongly Institutionalized Policy-Making Systems.” Click here for a copy.

2. Scholz, John, and Will Flanders. “Uncertainty and Democratic Participation in Policy Forums.” Click here for a copy.

3. Scholz, John, Jack Mewhirter, Ramiro Berardo, and Mark Lubell.  “Institutional Effectiveness and Evolution in an Ecology of Policy Games.” Click here for a copy.

Project #2: Information Or Credibility? Policy Networks and the Evolution of Cooperation – NSF Grant SES-0519459 (2006-2007). 

This research investigates the impact of policy network structure on the cooperative behavior of policy participants, focusing specifically on cooperative behavior among participants in joint projects undertaken by two or more government agencies and related constituencies to address water-related problems in southwest Florida. The research team collected data in the years 2006 and 2007 in the area under the jurisdiction of the South West Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), which sponsors different programs that fund collaborative projects designed by partnering organizations (usually local governments). Our research project studies one of these programs, called the Cooperative Funding Initiative. CFI funds up to 50% of projects that help achieve the sustainable use of water resources and restore natural systems in southwest Florida, among other goals.

Click here to view material from this project (survey instrument, databases, codebooks, etc.)

Publications resulting from this project:

Berardo, Ramiro. 2014. “Bridging and Bonding Capital in Two-Mode Collaborative Networks.” Policy Studies Journal 42(2): 197-225.

Scholz, John T., Meredith Whiteman, and Ramiro Berardo. 2012. “Network Capital and Project Performance in Self-Organizing Policy Arenas.” Under review.

Berardo, Ramiro. 2010. “Sustaining Joint Ventures: The Role of Resource Exchange and the Strength of Inter-organizational Relationships.” In Feiock, Richard, and John Scholz (Editors). Self-Organizing Federalism: Collaborative Mechanisms to Mitigate Institutional Collective Action. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 204-228. Click here to access the book’s Amazon page.

Berardo, Ramiro. 2009. “Processing Complexity in Networks: A Study of Informal Collaboration and its effect on Organizational Success.” Policy Studies Journal.37(3):521-539. Click here for a copy.


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