Identifying long-term monitoring needs: combining game theory and critical assumptions for the case of coastline management in the Netherlands

2012 EEEN Forum / Data Visualization

Leon Hermans, Delft University of Technology

Environmental evaluations are helped tremendously when useful and accurate monitoring data are available that help to trace developments and impacts over time. Yet collecting monitoring data requires efforts and investments upfront, without a guarantee that these data will be useful for future evaluation. Furthermore, where policymakers and politicians may be hesitant to commission evaluations, the idea of setting up monitoring systems that enable and support future evaluations may be even less appetising.

Thus, it is important to be able to identify the key monitoring needs upfront in order to keep the necessary moni­toring efforts limited but to the point. How can choices be made in de­signing moni­toring systems, identifying the key indicators that should be monitored because they seem more interesting than others?

During this presentation an approach will be proposed to support such choices by looking at the policy processes that preceded a policy decision. We will do so by applying game theory to capture the most important interactions among actors that shaped a decision. We will then apply key insights from assumption-based planning and adaptive policymaking to look for the critical assumptions that actors have been making in their policy games.  This idea is tested by looking at Dutch coastal policy, in three decision-rounds over the past 25 years. Could we, by reconstruct­ing past decisions as games, identify monitoring needs associated with those past decisions? And could the resulting monitoring information have helped to inform and support subsequent decisions that occur years and years later?

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