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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences - Resource Economics

Habilitation of Dr. Insa Theesfeld

Water and Institutional Analysis – Power and Leadership in Natural Resource Management

Start: 2008

End: 2013

Human society is required to adapt their behavior in various ways in order to cope with the present and future environmental challenges. We need partly precautionary and partly reactive, but wisely designed policies and measures to facilitate that. The crucial point however is that we need to rely on, that such measures reach their aim. In reality they do however often fail or are only partly effective. This habilitation aims at bringing us one step further in understanding why we see so many unintended results of designed institutional change. I will show in this habilitation why and how power, leadership and opportunism do often determine the outcome in natural resource management. This will be done in an exemplary way for the agricultural water sector, but the findings are relevant for the governance of all natural resources.
The habilitation will consist of two parts. Thematic Section I provides new methods and theoretical concepts for institutional analysis with various focal points and at different administrative levels. This part is driven by the idea on how to transfer and operationalize theoretical concepts in empirical analysis. I followed this same question and endeavor for a modeling tool for ex-ante institutional policy analysis (Article 1), for an extension for the Grammar of Institutions (Article 2), for the use of power resources as determinants for institutional change (Article 3), and for the scope of institutional change which is realistic when engaging with people in the social system (Article 4).
The second part of the habilitation will be stronger empirically based. Thematic Section II provides institutional specifics based on the water sector`s hydro-geological and socio-economic characteristics. In addition, this Section will show how new paradigms of governance, such as Integrated Water Resource Management and river basin management in the frame of the EU Water Framework Directive have been implemented. On a national scale, I will look at devolution policies for resource governance and the determinants for the emerging pseudo-devolution in several countries. Further Section II focuses on power and elite capture as concepts used in the empirical analysis of the agricultural water sector. The publications in this part will feed the theoretical debate in the Thematic Section I with empirical evidence. Research Projects.

Researcher: Dr. rer. agr. Insa Theesfeld

Cooperation Partners:

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn

Funding: Leibniz-Institut für Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa (IAMO), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Publications und Presentations: see Website Insa Theesfeld