Tanya Heikkila

University of Colorado Denver
School of Public Affairs

1380 Lawrence Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO
80217
tanya.heikkila@ucdenver.edu |  Visit Personal Website


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Professor Tanya Heikkila’s research expertise is in comparative institutional analysis and the management of collaboration and conflict around common pool resources, with an emphasis on water resources. She has studied institutions for coordinating groundwater and surface water in the western United States, interstate water conflicts and cooperation, the organization of collaborative ecosystem restoration programs, as well as the political landscape of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the PepsiCo Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Heikkila is also the director of MPA concentration in Environmental Policy, Management, and Law at the School of Public Affairs and Co-Director of the Workshop on Policy Process Research. She received her MPA and PhD in Public Administration and Policy from the University of Arizona.

Citation:
Cairney, P. and T. Heikkila. 2014. “A comparison of theories of the policy process.” Chapter 10 in Theories of the Policy Process, Third Edition. Paul A. Sabatier and Christopher M. Weible, eds., Westview Press, pp. 363-389.
Citation:
Weible, C., T. Heikkila and J. Pierce. 2015. “The Role of Ideas in Evaluating and Addressing Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations.” In Policy Paradigms in Theory and Practice: Discourses, Ideas, and Anomalies in Public Policy Dynamics, John Hogan and Michael Howlett eds., Palgrave.
Citation:
Heikkila, T. and A. Gerlak. “Investigating Collaborative Processes Over Time: A 10-Year Study of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.” The American Review of Public Administration. Published online July, 2014
URL: http://uar.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/11/13/1078087414555999
Citation:
Heikkila, T. J. Pierce, S. Gallaher, J. Kagan, D. A. Crow and C. M. Weible. “Understanding a Period of Policy Change: The Case of Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Policy in Colorado.” Review of Policy Research (31)2: 65-85.
Abstract: This paper investigates the beliefs and framing strategies of interest groups during a period of policy change and the factors explaining policy change. We develop propositions to explore questions concerning policy change primarily from the advocacy coalition framework as well as from other theories. The propositions are tested by examining the promulgation of a Colorado regulation requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Using coded data of documents published by organizations involved in the rulemaking process, we find divergence between industry and environmental groups on their beliefs concerning hydraulic fracturing, as well as their portraying themselves and each other as heroes, victims, and villains, but some convergence on their more specific beliefs concerning disclosure of chemicals. Interviews point to the importance of policy entrepreneurs, timing, a negotiated agreement, and learning for explaining policy change. The findings provide both theoretical and methodological insights into how and why policy changes.
Citation:
Berardo, R., T. Heikkila, and A. Gerlak. 2014. “Interorganizational Engagement in Collaborative Environmental Management: Evidence from the South Florida Ecosystems Restoration Task Force.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 24(3):697-719.
Abstract: Collaboration is commonly used to deliver public services that reach beyond the individual capacities of independent organizations. Although much of the literature in the fields of collaborative governance has offered theoretical insights to explain how stakeholders might initially enter into collaborative processes or how the design of collaborative processes can support continued stakeholder participation over time, the literature has not effectively studied what factors might drive actors to engage one another in a particular conversation or discussion during a collaborative process, nor what factors affect whether engagement is cooperative or conflictual. We fill this gap through a more “micro-level” view of collaborative engagement in a study of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, a collaborative arrangement involving representatives from 14 federal, tribal, state, and local agencies, charged with advising and coordinating the efforts in South Florida to restore and recover the Florida Everglades. We use data from coded meeting minutes of discussions among the participants in the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program Task Force over a 5-year time frame and demonstrate that the types of issues under discussion and the actors involved in discussion can either foster or inhibit engagement and conflict during dialogue. Our results have important implications for the development of a stronger theory of collaborative engagement in interorganizational partnerships.
Citation:
Heikkila, T., & Gerlak, A. K. 2013. “Building a Conceptual Approach to Collective Learning: Lessons for Public Policy Scholars.” Policy Studies Journal, 41(3), 484-512.
Abstract: In public policy processes, collective learning among policy actors is important in shaping how these processes unfold and the types of policy outcomes that may result. Despite a widespread interest in learning by policy scholars, researchers face a number of conceptual and theoretical challenges in studying learning across different collective settings within policy processes. In this article, we offer a theoretically grounded approach to defining and understanding collective-level learning. In defining learning, we first draw out the connection between learning processes and learning products, both cognitive and behavioral. In examining learning processes, we further explore the relationship between individual and collective learning. Then we identify and define the key characteristics of collective settings that will likely influence learning processes. We conclude by offering recommendations for policy scholars to apply this approach in studies of learning across diverse policy contexts.
DOI: 10.1111/psj.12026
Citation:
Heikkila, T. and E. Schlager. 2012. “Addressing the Issues: The Choice of Environmental Conflict Resolution Venues in the United States.” American Journal of Political Science. 56 (4): 774-786.
Abstract: Environmental conflicts are the catalyst for policy and institutional changes, and they are expected to increase due to rising populations, economic growth, and climate change impacts. Yet, environmental conflicts and the venues used to address them have not been thoroughly examined. A common-pool resource dilemmas typology is used to categorize environmental conflict issues and to develop hypotheses relating conflict issues to resolution venues. The hypotheses are tested on western water-resource conflicts. The capacity of venues to address the underlying conflict issues as well as how some venues tend to work in tandem are important for explaining the matching of conflict type to venue.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00588.x
Citation:
Weible, C., T. Heikkila, P. de Leon and P. Sabatier. 2012. “Understanding and Influencing the Policy Process.” Policy Sciences. 45: 1-21.
Abstract: This essay translates some of the underlying logic of existing research of policy processes into a set of strategies for shaping policy agendas and influencing policy development and change. The argument builds from a synthesized model of the individual and a simplified depiction of the political system. Three overarching strategies are introduced that operate at the policy subsystem level: developing deep knowledge; building networks; and participating for extended periods of time. The essay then considers how a democratic ethic can inform these strategies. Ultimately, the success or failure of influencing the policy process is a matter of odds, but these odds could be changed favorably if individuals employ the three strategies consistently over time. The conclusion contextualizes the arguments and interprets the strategies offered as a meta-theoretical argument of political influence.
DOI: 10.1007/s11077-011-9143-5
Citation:
Abstract: This essay translates some of the underlying logic of existing research of policy processes into a set of strategies for shaping policy agendas and influencing policy development and change. The argument builds from a synthesized model of the individual and a simplified depiction of the political system. Three overarching strategies are introduced that operate at the policy subsystem level: developing deep knowledge; building networks; and participating for extended periods of time. The essay then considers how a democratic ethic can inform these strategies. Ultimately, the success or failure of influencing the policy process is a matter of odds, but these odds could be changed favorably if individuals employ the three strategies consistently over time. The conclusion contextualizes the arguments and interprets the strategies offered as a meta-theoretical argument of political influence.
DOI: 10.1007/s11077-011-9143-5
Citation:
Weible, C., T. Heikkila, P. de Leon and P. Sabatier. 2012. “Understanding and Influencing the Policy Process.” Policy Sciences. 45: 1-21.
Abstract: This essay translates some of the underlying logic of existing research of policy processes into a set of strategies for shaping policy agendas and influencing policy development and change. The argument builds from a synthesized model of the individual and a simplified depiction of the political system. Three overarching strategies are introduced that operate at the policy subsystem level: developing deep knowledge; building networks; and participating for extended periods of time. The essay then considers how a democratic ethic can inform these strategies. Ultimately, the success or failure of influencing the policy process is a matter of odds, but these odds could be changed favorably if individuals employ the three strategies consistently over time. The conclusion contextualizes the arguments and interprets the strategies offered as a meta-theoretical argument of political influence.
DOI: 10.1007/s11077-011-9143-5
Citation:
Heikkila, T., A. Gerlak, A. Bell and S. Schmeier. 2013. “Adaptation in a transboundary river basin: Linking stressors and adaptive capacity in the Mekong River Commission. Environmental Science and Policy 25: 73-82.
Abstract: River basin organizations serve as potential forums to promote adaptation to environmental change in transboundary river basins. Yet how these organizations adapt is an understudied area of the literature. We explore and compare four examples of adaptation within the Mekong River Commission (MRC), focusing on how the nature of stressors shapes adaptation responses. We measure adaptation responses in terms of adaptive capacity, which includes technical, institutional, social and financial capacity. We find that the uncertainty of the impact of stressors plays a role in shaping the extent of adaptive capacity. We also find that the adaptive response may depend on a river basin organization's pre-existing capacity to address the stressor. Finally, our research suggests that investments in new capacity can create a feedback mechanism that helps reduce uncertainty and foster further adaptation.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2012.09.013
Citation:
Heikkila, T., E. Schlager, and M.W. Davis. 2011. “The Role of Cross-Scale Institutional Linkages in Common Pool Resource Management: Assessing Interstate River Compacts.” Policy Studies Journal 39 (1): 121-145.
Abstract: This paper extends the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework?s seminal research on common pool resource (CPR) management in new directions by exploring how the design principles of robust and enduring CPR management, initially proposed by Elinor Ostrom in 1990, can be used to measure and assess cross-scale institutional linkages. This study examines data from 14 interstate river basin compacts in the western United States to identify the types of linkages established in these interstate settings, the factors that contribute to the emergence of diverse types of linkages around these shared resources, and how different types of linkages perform. Using Ostrom?s CPR design principles to operationalize and measure linkages, the study shows that diverse types of cross-scale linkages were created under the 14 interstate compacts, with linkages related to monitoring found to be particularly prevalent. The types and diversity of linkages can largely be explained by the conditions under which compacts emerged and the water management issues states jointly face. In applying the evaluative criteria operationalized by the CPR design principles, this research further shows that the monitoring and collective choice linkages created by compacts tend to be of higher quality, while enforcement and conflict resolution linkages appeared to be of the lowest quality. In addition to developing the IAD literature on CPR management, these findings offer critical insights for assessing the capacity of interstate river basin compacts in the western U.S. to manage shared resources successfully, as well as insights for what types of institutional investments may be needed for enhanced resource governance.
Citation:
Schlager, E., and T. Heikkila. 2011. “Left High and Dry?: Climate Change, Common Pool Resource Theory and the Adaptability of Western Water Compacts.” Public Administration Review 71 (3): 461-470.
Abstract: As efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fall well short of what the consensus of scientists worldwide argue is necessary to avoid potentially catastrophic increases in the mean global temperature, increasing effort and attention are being devoted to understanding both the vulnerability and adaptability of social and ecological systems to climate change. In the western United States and other semi-arid regions of the world, one of the most immediate and direct effects of climate change involves the availability of water resources. Scientific evidence suggests that the western U.S. is likely to become hotter and drier and to experience greater variability in precipitation. These changes will affect tens of millions of residents in western states, as well as nearly every sector of the economy, especially the agricultural sector. We apply the logic of common-pool resource theory (CPRT) to show policymakers how to assess the vulnerability and adaptability to climate change of interstate river compacts, offer CPRT-informed recommendations for coping with climate change, and identify areas for future research.
URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2011.02367.x/abstract
Citation:
Gerlak, A., and T. Heikkila. 2011. “Building a Theory of Learning in Collaborative Institutions: Evidence from the Everglades Restoration Program.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.
Abstract: Many of society?s most vexing problems must be solved through collaborative institutional arrangements. Growing scholarly interest in these types of institutions recognizes that the capacity for collective learning may play a critical role in the success of collaborative institutions. However, limited theoretical or empirical research exists to explain how learning occurs and the institutional conditions that support learning in this context. In this paper, we draw upon a wealth of literature, ranging from organization theory, policy process and change, and network analysis, to establish a framework of collective learning to guide inquiry in learning in collaborative institutional governance settings. In doing so, we link the process of learning to learning products, and examine what factors shape the process of learning. We apply our learning framework to a study of learning in a collaborative ecosystem restoration program in the Florida Everglades. We use the framework to guide a study of how learning processes and products are linked within a collaborative institution using a case-based, inductive approach at two levels of analysis -- the larger program level and the sub-case level of a learning product case. Our multi-level analysis draws upon survey and interview data to examine how the framework helps diagnose the specific types of learning processes and products that emerge in this setting, as well as the factors that influence these learning processes. In doing so, the analysis illuminates theoretical propositions, not explained by the broader literature on collective learning, around the structural, social, and technological features of the collaborative institution, which may foster learning.
URL: http://jpart.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/02/09/jopart.muq089.full.pdf+html

Substantive Focus:
Energy and Natural Resource Policy SECONDARY
Environmental Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory PRIMARY

Keywords

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS LEARNING