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Open AccessArticle

Collaborative Environmental Governance, Inter-Agency Cooperation and Local Water Sustainability in China

1
College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Road, Hongshan District, Wuhan 430074, China
2
John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University, 1810 College Rd., Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3
Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2305; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122305
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
Administrative fragmentation among government agencies has posed a significant challenge to environmental governance. However, few studies have theoretically examined and empirically measured how local governments in China address this with collaborative approaches. Informed by the ecology of games framework (EGF), this paper examined the status of inter-agency water governance in Dongguan City: the pilot city of aquatic ecologically friendly city of China. The research question we seek to address is: What are the main characteristics of the water governance network in local China? With empirical data collected via survey questionnaires and semi-structured in-depth interviews following the EGF, we find that local agencies have realized the need for cooperation in water resource management. However, they were not substantially familiar with each other in the local policy network, failing to reach their full potential in collaboration. Social network analysis was used to analyze the collaborative network. We found that the network has a weak to moderate density, allowing for collective action problems and leading to insufficient cooperative governance. The network has presented central actors with strong bridging capital to control information and resource flows. We also find strong bonding capital among some policy actors as shown in high reciprocity, clustering coefficient and transitivity. To strengthen the effectiveness of local water governance, efforts should be made to establish a functional department and extend the boundary of collaborative network. View Full-Text
Keywords: water governance; network governance; inter-agency cooperation; environmental sustainability; ecology of games; collaborative governance water governance; network governance; inter-agency cooperation; environmental sustainability; ecology of games; collaborative governance
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Huang, C.; Chen, T.; Yi, H.; Xu, X.; Chen, S.; Chen, W. Collaborative Environmental Governance, Inter-Agency Cooperation and Local Water Sustainability in China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2305.

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