Work Package 2: Institutional Analysis
Starting Point: The Contribution of Institutional Economics
The economic literature on climate adaptation deals with the optimal (cost-minimizing, welfare-maximizing) adaptation to climate change. By this, its traditional toolkit is pushed to the limit. Of great interest seem to be approaches that explore the mechanisms for allocating and organizing the use of scarce resources. Among those, institutional economics, focusing on formal and informal allocation rules or “institutions”, seem the most promising.
The Aim: Analyzing determinants and obstacles for institutional change in successful climate change adaptation
Relying on specific situations of physical threat, the subproject observes determinants and obstacles for institutional change as part of processes of adaptation to climate change. Whenever new threats make climate adaptation necessary, the question is, under which conditions are present institutions able to bring about the necessary change, and when should new forms of organization be used/ required. Success factors and barriers for adaptation will be derived from such an analysis.
Methods: Case study comparison and in-depth social research
At first, the study addresses the way municipalities in the study areas that experience a threat from climate change deal with the necessities of climate change adaptation. Some municipalities rely on planning regulations and administrative procedures, while others engage in new and more integrated decision-making processes. From these differences in meeting the adaptation challenge, key-factors will be distilled by means of a “Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)”.
Building on this analysis, an in-depth exploration of selected adaptation processes and bundles of measures will examine factors enabling or hampering design and subsequent implementation processes. Participant observation and semi-structured interviews will assess the role of individual behavior, collective and state action as well as the hurdles and potentials for cooperation of different actors across levels and sectors.
Expected Findings: Meeting context-specific challenges or “many roads lead to Rome”
Very different adaptation processes are expected, as well as a strong link between adaptation strategies and actual contexts. Nonetheless, the methods employed promise to be able to isolate specific combinations of key-factors, and formulate tailor made recommendations for the design of adaptation processes across sectors and levels.