Monday, October 17, 2016

Abbott: Orchestrating Experimentation in Non-State Environmental Commitments

Kenneth W. Abbott (Arizona State Univ. - Law) has posted Orchestrating Experimentation in Non-State Environmental Commitments. Here's the abstract:
A striking development in climate governance is the emergence of systems for non-state actors to make voluntary commitments alongside state undertakings. Because these commitments involve diverse actors carrying out diverse activities in diverse settings, they provide unprecedented opportunities for experimentation and learning. Yet voluntary commitment systems (VCS) rarely promote experimentation and provide few systematic learning mechanisms. I argue, based on work with Duncan Snidal, for a more strongly experimental approach. First, VCS should encourage designed, controlled policy experiments consistent with scientific standards. Second, even where formal experiments are infeasible, VCS should treat commitments as informal experiments, orchestrating them to promote innovation, comparability, analysis and systematic learning. Collaborative initiatives and other actors can act as orchestrators, encouraging and supporting formal and informal experimentation through persuasion, technical and material assistance, recognition, third-party assistance and other incentives.