The Perfect Amount of Help: An Examination of the Relationship Between Capacity and Collaboration in Urban Energy and Climate Initiatives
Many municipalities are taking meaningful action in pursuit of climate, environmental, and energy objectives. These issues are complex and transboundary and thus provide fertile ground for collaboration, particularly in metropolitan regions. However, despite the many benefits that can result from collaboration, it also entails transaction risk. As a result, cities have incentive to be selective about who they collaborate with. In some cases, cities, particularly those with considerable internal resources and capacities, might find it easier to “go it alone.” We pull from the literature on collaboration risk, transaction cost economics, and organizational capacity to develop hypotheses about the relationship between capacity and collaboration in urban sustainability initiatives. Our analysis finds that the extent to which cities collaborate with external organizations on climate and energy issues is shaped by local administrative capacity; however, the relationship is nonlinear.
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