This research investigates why various mechanisms of cooperation among local authorities are chosen using the theoretical lens of institutional collective action (ICA). The article analyzes 564 local collaboration agreements drawn from four urban regions of China to explain the choices of environmental collaboration agreements among cities. Examples of three forms of interlocal agreements—informal, formal, and imposed agreements—are analyzed. Ordinal logistic regressions are estimated to test which factors predicted by the ICA framework influence the form of collaboration selected. The results indicate that the involvement of national or provincial government, the number of policy actors involved, heterogeneity of economic conditions, and differences in administrative level among the actors involved influence how collaboration agreements are structured. Examining the choice of agreement type contributes to the understanding of interlocal collaboration and provides practical insights for public managers to structure interlocal collaboration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, “Regional Governance and Institutional Collective Action for Environmental Sustainability in China” (Award #CRF012915), and the National Science Foundation, “SRN: Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy and Livable Cities” (Award #1444745).