Sustainable natural resource governance under interest group competition in policy making

PoliSEA is an agent-based model, developed to understand the relationship between policy and social-ecological dynamics. More specifically, it explores how interactions between key policy actors (namely, interest groups and policymakers), and specifically coalition-building behavior of interest groups in response to environmental change, shape policy adaptation.

We use our empirical work on 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy reform, Advocacy Coalitions Framework of policy process and past research on interest group influence to design and inform the model. PoliSEA represents a social-ecological system ‘to-be-governed’ and a political system, in which industry and environmental interest groups seek influence and policymakers make joint decisions on the yearly fishing quota.  Interest group success in influencing the outcome depends on their resources and beliefs of policymakers as well as their own lobbying strategy and strategy of the opposing groups. Policy change is then an emergent outcome of interest group-policymaker interactions, influenced by social-ecological dynamics, as well as properties of both interest groups and policymakers. As a result of new policy, fishing quota influences the state of fish population and the incomes of the fishery which then feeds into the policy process, as information, perceived by the interest groups. PoliSEA helps us understand how formation of interest group coalitions by both industry and environmental groups in response to a perceived crisis can lead to sustainable fish stock management, despite strong industry pressure. 

Keywords: Agent-based modelling |  | fishery policy | interest group
People: Kirill Orach in collaboration with Maja Schlüter and Andreas Duit
Methods: Agent-based modelling
Funding: ERC