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The institutional development and outcomes of water partnerships in Korea: a comparative case study based on a modified institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework

Kim, KoUn (2012) The institutional development and outcomes of water partnerships in Korea: a comparative case study based on a modified institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines how new types of water governance institutions, water partnerships, emerged and performed in Korea, a centralised state-driven society. Beyond conventional water management by either government or market, new forms of governance have been sought to address problems such as under-provision, pollution and water conflict. This study investigates voluntary water partnerships as a leading example of new water governance in East Asia. Conceptually, it uses a modified institutional approach, the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, to examine how global water reform discourses informed social actors in the design and implementation of regional and urban water partnerships in Korea. A comparative case analysis of six water partnerships finds that co-governance institutions emerged and operated in a complex linkage with existing water governance systems. For the three urban water partnerships, local actors actively seized opportunities to rehabilitate long abandoned urban streams. For the three regional water partnerships, public and private sector actors successfully negotiated partnership agreements, focusing on the restoration of polluted water sources. A modified IAD framework captured these complicated interactions among stakeholders within multi-layered water governance structures. An attitudinal survey of partnership members complemented the comparative case studies by assessing how the partnerships performed according to selected evaluation criteria. A multi-criteria assessment of the data reveals three key findings. First, the partnerships achieved mainly positive procedural and socio-economic outcomes in water management. Second, observed lower environmental outcomes result mainly from the interlinked features of water resources management and the partnerships’ relatively brief history. Third, the overall findings indicate that the outcomes of co-governance institutions tended to be contextual. The scale of organisations and of the water resources concerned did not determine the outcomes of the water partnerships. Thus, this finding challenges the claim that ‘smaller is better’ in collaborative governance. This study concludes that the voluntary co-management of shared water resources by the six partnerships have simultaneously brought some solutions as well as costs to water governance in Korea. The design and development of co-management institutions for water governance requires a greater understanding of local and national settings, as well as the facilitative role of national government. Co-operation between new co-governance institutions and existing water institutions is vital to long-term, effective water management.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 KoUn Kim
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Mason, Michael and Rees, Judith

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