Learning and Legitimacy

Following the literature on socialization and compliance, we assume that compliance can be the result of processes of arguing and socialization, which may lead to learning and internalization. According to Koh (1997), states comply with international rules, not because of enforcement but because of internalization of the underlying norms. Internalization processes may be initiated and sustained by norm entrepreneurs and issue-specific networks (Risse and Sikkink 1999), by deliberation (Risse 2000; Ulbert and Risse 2005), or by social learning (Checkel 2001). The constructivist literature as?sumes that social interaction—rather than pressure or cost-benefit assump- tions—leads to compliance because social learning is “a process whereby agent interests and identities are shaped through and during interaction” (Checkel 2001, 560). Applied to PPPs, we distinguish two causal chains: we expect higher degrees of effectiveness through organizational learning (H4) as well as through the inclusion of stakeholders (H5).

Much of the broader literature on organizational learning links the effectiveness of organizations to their ability to adapt to changing environments and new challenges (Dirks et al. 2002; Siebenhuner 2003). Here the focus is applied to a change in the knowledge of an organization that paves the way to modified practices of the organization and its members. Institutional learning takes place when innovative and consensual knowledge is provided by the PPP so that members may use it for improving their projects. Evaluations play a pivotal role in this. Even more important is the follow-up process within the PPP—there should be an established process on how to react to criticism, for example, within evaluations. Accordingly, we hypothesize that if processes of institutional learning are embedded in the design of a partnership, this will increase the PPP’s effectiveness, and thus our fourth hypothesis (H4) reads: the more institutionalized a process of organizational learning, the more effective the PPP.

Furthermore, a sociological perspective on compliance and the research on policy implementation would expect compliance to depend on whether norm addressees were involved in the process of norm setting (Mayntz 1983; Borzel and Risse 2002). It is controversial whether more inclusion and participation in fact leads to more effectiveness. While some authors assume that the success of governance is linked, at the very least, to its perception as legitimate (Reinicke et al. 2000; Zurn 2004), others argue the opposite and stress the potential tradeoff between (time-consuming) normative procedural demands and actual performance (Dahl 1994; Keohane and Nye 2001; Scharpf 1999). We take up the former position and hypothesize that the involvement of stakeholders and rule addressees increases compliance (outcome). We do so for various reasons: if stakeholders are involved in the process of rule setting, norms are the result of reasoned consensus with stakeholders rather than bargained compromise. This may increase ownership and hence compliance (Beisheim and Dingwerth 2010). In addition, broad participation may induce a higher level of social learning and thus a reshaping of member’s interests. In a bottom-up fashion, stakeholders may bring in (local) knowledge and thus shape rules, so that they fit the actual conditions on the ground and meet a higher level of acceptance when applied. Moreover, we use accountability mechanisms as another indicator for the substantial involvement of stakeholders. Thus, our fifth hypothesis (H5) reads: the higher the involvement of stakeholders in establishing, steering, and holding the PPP accountable, the more effective the PPP.

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