Institutional Collective Action (ICA) Framework

ICA Review Essay

"The Institutional Collective Action Framework"

Feiock, R. (2013). The Institutional Collective Action Framework. Policy Studies Journal 41(3), 397–425. Open Access

The ICA framework introduces an array of collaboration mechanisms available to coordinate the actions of local governments to mitigate local and regional dilemmas of fragmented authority that characterize a federalist system.  In metropolitan regions authority to address public problems can be fragmented vertically among levels of government, horizontally among local governments, or functionally among agencies and bureaus. Fragmented authority produces institutional collective action dilemmas when lack on integration results in spillovers or loss of scale economies. Institutional Collective Action (ICA) provides a framework to understand these dilemmas and the collaborative mechanisms to mitigate them. Informal types of agreements impose fewer restrictions on participants because they are flexible, voluntary, and do not require local governments to give up autonomy but they are unlikely to be sustained if participants face “collaboration risks” of not being able to coordinate on a course of action, not being able to agree to division of costs, or not being able to prevent others from reneging or free riding  following agreement. The ICA framework posits that these collaboration risks vary by the type of mechanism used, the actors involved, and the nature of the problem.


MPOs and Regional Governance 
This project investigates institutional variation in the structure and governing process of MPOs and the implications of these institutions for regional and city level transportation outcomes. Three sub-projects include a national study of regional transit expenditures (with Jerry Zhao); multilevel analysis of analysis of MPO influence on land use, distributed transportation infrastructure and sustainability in ICSD cities in the 10 largest states; investigation of how political and economic homophily influence the likelihood of the joint projects and whether the nature and characteristics of the project influences collaboration among cities in Texas MPOs (with Brian Ahn and Raphael W. Bostic). 

Functional Institutional Collective Action
Functional collective action (FCA) problems within a single government arise from fragmented authority across multiple functional agencies when the connectedness of services, objectives, or resource systems produce externalities. The first stage of this project implemented a national survey of the organization structure for organizing sustainability in US local governments and the agencies involved in sustainability. The second stage conducted in-depth case-study in eight cities. The third stage uses a network survey of all agencies in these eight cities to conduct stochastic social network analysis of functional integration. This work is supported by NSF (SES 1461460); (with Rachel Krause and Christopher Hawkins).

Multiplex Policy Networks
The first component examined informal and formal networks by estimating STERGM models of network change for a network panel of economic development officers in the Orlando metropolitan area (with Kwak and Hawkins). The second uses ICSD to investigate policy and ego networks  overlap related to development, environment, and energy policy. The third, as part of NSF Smart and Connected Cities (1737633), investigates interactions among infrastructure for provisions in water, energy, food, buildings, transportation-communications, sanitation, waste management and public spaces in cities. Information exchange and policy networks among a broad set of planning and policy actors will be measured over time in Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota and Tallahassee, Florida. Infrastructure decision networks will then be to textual analysis of infrastructure connection in planning documents (with Anu Ramaswami).

ICA Publications

ICA Dissertations