Evaluating the Delivery of Environmental Governance using an Evidence-based Research Design (EDGE)

Team: Jens Newig (lead), Ed Challies, Nicolas Jager, Elisa Kochskämper
Duration: 04 / 2011 – 03 / 2016 (60 months)
Volume: € 900’000
Funded by the European Research Council as an ERC Starting Grant


Does participation in environmental governance benefit the environment? Given the still scattered and ambiguous findings, EDGE aims to produce reliable and valid evidence on whether and under what conditions participation actually improves policy delivery in environmental governance.

Based on one coherent analytical framework (→ SCAPE), EDGE uses an evidence-based approach, combining primary research (comparative case studies, natural experimentation) with secondary (meta-analysis of previously published case studies – case survey).

Currently, published case studies from Europe and North America are  reviewed and systematically compared, employing and further developing the case survey method. A sample of several hundreds of cases will be precisely coded based on a theoretical framework that provides context, process and outcome variables. To our knowledge, EDGE will produce the hitherto largest and most rigorous case survey in governance research.

We conduct original case study research the area of water governance as a key area of environmental governance in which participation is explicitly encouraged. The implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) of 2000 and of the EU Floods Directive of 2007 provides a unique opportunity to assess completed governance processes and their outcomes (2001–2009) as well as upcoming governance processes (2013–2015), the latter via field experimentation or a natural experiment.

The combination of case survey, comparative case studies and field/natural experimentation will give the unique opportunity to stringently compare and assess these innovative methods of social enquiry under a single analytical framework.


Koontz, T. M., Jager, N. W., & Newig, J. (2020). Assessing Collaborative Conservation: A Case Survey of Output, Outcome, and Impact Measures Used in the Empirical Literature. Society & Natural Resources, 33(4), 442-461.

Newig, J., Jager, N. W., Kochskämper, E., & Challies, E. (2019). Learning in participatory environmental governance – its antecedents and effects. Findings from a case survey meta-analysis. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 21(3), 213-227 [free open access content].

Jager, N. W., Newig, J., Challies, E., & Kochskämper, E. (2019 – in press). Pathways to Implementation: Evidence on How Participation in Environmental Governance Impacts on Environmental Outcomes. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 1-17 [free open access content].

Newig, J., Challies, E., & Jager, N. W. (2019). Democratic innovation and environmental governance. In S. Elstub & O. Escobar (Eds.), Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance (pp. 324-338). Cheltenham, UK & Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Kochskämper, E., Challies, E., Jager, N. W., & Newig, J. (2018). Participation for Effective Environmental Governance: Evidence from European Water Framework Directive Implementation. Oxon [u.a.]: Routledge.

Newig, J., Challies, E., Jager, N. W., Kochskämper, E., & Adzersen, A. (2018). The Environmental Performance of Participatory and Collaborative Governance: A Framework of Causal Mechanisms. Policy Studies Journal, 46(2), 269-297 [free open access content].

Newig, J., Kochskämper, E., Challies, E., & Jager, N. W. (2016). Exploring governance learning: How policymakers draw on evidence, experience and intuition in designing participatory flood risk planning. Environmental Science & Policy, 55, 353-360. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2015.07.020. [Free Open Access Content]

Challies, E. , Newig, J., Thaler, T., Kochskämper, E., & Levin-Keitel, M. (2016). Participatory and collaborative governance for sustainable flood risk management: An emerging research agenda. Environmental Science & Policy, 55(2), 275-280.

Drazkiewicz, A., Challies, E., & Newig, J. (2015). Public participation and local environmental planning: Testing factors influencing decision quality and implementation in four case studies from Germany. Land Use Policy 46, 211-222.

Koontz, T. M., & Newig, J. (2014). From Planning to Implementation: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches for Collaborative Watershed Management. Policy Studies Journal, 42(3), 416-442. 10.1111/psj.12067

Newig, J., Challies, E., Jager, N. W., & Kochskämper, E. (2014). What Role for Public Participation in Implementing the EU Floods Directive?: A comparison with the Water Framework Directive, early evidence from Germany, and a research agenda. Environmental Policy and Governance, 24(4), 275–288. 10.1002/eet.1650

Koontz, T. M., & Newig, J. (2014). Cross-level Information and Influence in Mandated Participatory Planning: Alternative Pathways to Sustainable Water Management in Germany’s Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. Land Use Policy, 38, 594–604. 10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.01.005

Newig, J., & Koontz, T. M. (2014). Multi-level Governance, Policy Implementation and Participation: The EU’s Mandated Participatory Planning Approach to Implementing Environmental Policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 21(2), 248-267. 10.1080/13501763.2013.834070

Newig, J., Challies, E., Jager, N. W., & Kochskämper, E. (2014). Öffentlichkeitsbeteiligung und EU Hochwasserrisikomanagement-Richtlinie. Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung, 58(6), 339-340.

Newig, J., Adzersen, A., Challies, E., Fritsch, O., & Jager, N. W. (2013). Comparative analysis of public environmental decision-making processes: A variable-based analytical scheme. 65 S. (INFU Discussion Paper; Nr. 37). Lüneburg: Institut für Umweltkommunikation der Universität Lüneburg.

Newig, J., Jager, N. W., & Challies, E. (2012). Führt Bürgerbeteiligung in umweltpolitischen Entscheidungsprozessen zu mehr Effektivität und Legitimität?. Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 22(4), 527-564


International Conference on Public Policy, Milan, July 2015:


How effective is participation in public environmental decision-making? Early findings from a meta analysis of 250 case studies. Colorado State University, 30 August 2014.

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