Market-Based Approaches for Environmental Governance: Exploring the Implementation Gap in Alberta

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This research addresses how governments consider and implement policy in Canada. Specifically, it assesses what factors influence policy success by exploring the market-based instrument (MBI) implementation gap in environmental management in Alberta. Due to the increased complexity of environmental issues and increased expectations that non-state actors will have a role in environmental management, the Government of Alberta made many commitments to use MBIs. However, of the 57 MBI commitments made by the Alberta Ministry of Environment (MoE) during the study period, 2000 to 2015, only 13 were implemented and only 7 are uniquely new. Results reveal that the values, beliefs, and behaviours of policy actors, both internal in the MoE and external stakeholders, influence their social acceptance and the institutional fit of MBIs. However, these factors are not reflected in policy design and implementation processes. Observations and interviews with local knowledge experts revealed issues of accountability and legitimacy contribute to the MBI gap. Further, a Q methodology study revealed prevalent social discourses on water management issues and suggested directions for local solutions. Five distinct discourses were identified around water management issues and four distinct discourses on the use of MBIs as solutions. A number of MBI researchers and designers have made assumptions about how people behave based on traditional economics. This study shows that many such design criteria and objectives do not represent how policies are implemented in real-life scenarios, building on economic principles and taking an interdisciplinary approach to understand how and why policy actors behave the way they do. This research suggests a broadening of policy processes to include social acceptability and informal institutional measures to capture important factors that can influence environmental policy success.
Kerr, G. L. (2018). Market-based approaches for environmental governance: Exploring the implementation gap in Alberta (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/31945