The Coherence(s) of Institutional Resource Regimes: Typology and Assessments from the Case of Water Supply Management

Bolognesi, Thomas, and Pflieger, Geraldine, Environmental Science & Policy 99 (September 1, 2019): 17-28.

Abstract: Coherence is pivotal to integrate governance and, presumably, to improve sustainability because of more coordination efficiency. The coherence of governance refers to the clarity and the compatibility of public policies and property rights. The institutional resource regimes framework put forward that integration also depends on the scope of uses regulated (extent). Coherence has been under-investigated in comparison to extent. Notably, there is no common avenue of appraising it. In this paper, we propose a typology of coherence and assess it through an operationalisation in the Swiss water supply sector. It offers methodological tools and theoretical developments contributing to the comparative analysis of these policy studies central aspects. The typology stands on the IRR definition of integration, and we introduce the relation of coherence to extent, which emphasises the impact of polycentricity and transaction costs. To put into practice the typology and assess the different types of coherence, we gathered data from 96 water utility managers in French-speaking Switzerland. Results indicate that extent-related coherence is troublesome while the discrete coherence of each public policy and property right reveal satisfying. Despite an increasing focus on horizontal issues (siloisation, intersectoral), we observe more coherence issues related to vertical aspects of the governance.

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