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1 August 2015 Incentives for Collaborative Governance: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Initiatives in the Swedish Mountain Region
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Abstract

Governance collaborations between public and private partners are increasingly used to promote sustainable mountain development, yet information is limited on their nature and precise extent. This article analyzes collaboration on environment and natural resource management in Swedish mountain communities to critically assess the kinds of issues these efforts address, how they evolve, who leads them, and what functional patterns they exhibit based on Margerum's (2008) typology of action, organizational, and policy collaboration. Based on official documents, interviews, and the records of 245 collaborative projects, we explore the role of the state, how perceptions of policy failure may inspire collaboration, and the opportunities that European Union funds have created. Bottom-up collaborations, most of which are relatively recent, usually have an action and sometimes an organizational function. Top-down collaborations, however, are usually organizational or policy oriented. Our findings suggest that top-down and bottom-up collaborations are complementary in situations with considerable conflict over time and where public policies have partly failed, such as for nature protection and reindeer grazing. In less contested areas, such as rural development, improving tracks and access, recreation, and fishing, there is more bottom-up, action-oriented collaboration. State support, especially in the form of funding, is central to explaining the emergence of bottom-up action collaboration. Our findings show that the state both initiates and coordinates policy networks and retains a great deal of power over the nature and functioning of collaborative governance. A practical consequence is that there is great overlap—aggravated by sectorized approaches—that creates a heavy workload for some regional partners.

© 2015 by the authors
Katarina Eckerberg, Therese Bjärstig, and Anna Zachrisson "Incentives for Collaborative Governance: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Initiatives in the Swedish Mountain Region," Mountain Research and Development 35(3), (1 August 2015). https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-14-00068.1
Received: 1 April 2015; Accepted: 1 June 2015; Published: 1 August 2015
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