In the EPA department, we focus on three themes. First, we observe that environmental problems and the various instruments and approaches actors employ to address these problems (i.e. governance) are becoming increasingly complex. Interaction and interdependencies among governance institutions and actors are increasing, leading to a complex emerging system of global (i.e. planetary) governance. How to best map, analyse, visualize, and explain this complex governance system is the central question of our work on Governance under Complexity.
Second, we are interested in the fundamental question of change. How and under what conditions do governance institutions change? What concept and models best describe and predict institutional change across issue areas? What role do policy entrepreneurs (both individual and organizational) play in transforming unsustainable practices? These questions are at the center of our research on Governance Innovation and Institutional Change.
Third, we study the broader effects (beyond effectiveness) of policies and governance instruments across a wide range of concrete types, including public policies, market-based certification systems, disclosure-based governance, and public-private partnerships, among others. We are pursuing a broad conceptualization of effectiveness, including unintended effects and negative externalities. These concerns are the focus of our research on Governance Evaluation.
For a more detailed description of all research themes, see Research Themes.