Commentary: Shaping Incentives Toward Effective Collaboration: Lessons for Conservation Practice

Date01 March 2014
Published date01 March 2014
Shaping Incentives Toward Effective Collaboration: Lessons for Conservation Practice 231
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 74, Iss. 2, pp. 231–232. © 2014 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12201.
Francisco G. Delf‌i n, Jr., is former
assistant professor at the University of
the Philippines National College of Public
Administration and Governance. He served
as assistant secretary and undersecretary
in the Philippine Department of Energy
in charge of upstream energy projects.
Currently, as vice president of PetroEnergy
Resources Corporation, which is engaged
in conventional and renewable energy
development, he is familiar with land-use
conf‌l icts pitting energy and environmental
goals against one another. He holds a
doctorate in public administration from the
University of Southern California.
E-mail: fgdelf‌i
Francisco G. Delf‌i n, Jr.
PetroEnergy Resources Corporation, Philippines
Many newly democratizing and develop-
ing states are the focus of expectations
for strengthened participation in envi-
ronmental governance. A key challenge, then, for
policy practitioners, public of‌f‌i cials, and private
advocates alike is how to achieve ef‌f ective envi-
ronmental outcomes while reducing transaction
costs in an enlarged and democratic policy-making
arena. Ching-Ping Tang and Shui-Yan Tang’s study,
“Managing Incentive Dynamics for Collaborative
Governance in Land and Ecological Conservation,”
cautions us that the oft-repeated advice from the
public administration literature to dangle incentives
and align the interests of dif‌f erent actors to foster
collaboration is not only incomplete but also, in
certain cases, may backf‌i re.
e Twin Lake land conservation case in northern
Taiwan documented by the authors is emblematic of
current and future land-use conf‌l icts in many parts
of the developing world.  e existence of unique
landscapes with scenic, ecological, recreational, and
agricultural values is threatened by conf‌l icting uses
and interests. In the Twin Lake study, the authors
report how various actors responded to land conser-
vation ef‌f orts given the incentives embedded in the
evolving approach to ecological preservation, from
regulation through voluntary transaction and eventual
collaboration.  is study makes a unique contribu-
tion in viewing the resulting incentive problems and
dynamics in light of f‌i ndings from behavioral or cog-
nitive economics. Few scholarly investigations apply
the frame of behavioral economics to land conserva-
tion governance, especially in a non-U.S. setting. But
its far bigger contribution may lie in conservation
practice, where its prescriptions for managing incen-
tive dynamics can be tested. Phrased dif‌f erently, if
land conservation practitioners are keen to ensure that
macro-level collaboration leads to ef‌f ective conserva-
tion outcomes, then Tang and Tang’s micro-level
insights on incentive dynamics may help practitioners
reach that desired end.
Shaping Incentives Toward Ef‌f ective Collaboration: Lessons
for Conservation Practice

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