Research Interests

I study the politics of environmental governance and am particularly interested in local institutional arrangements and the role they play in explaining policy outcomes. Below, you will find media coverage of my research, links to recent publications, new research projects, and working papers, I would very much appreciate your feedback on any of these items!

In the News

Voluntarism and Unselfish Leadership: Selfless behavior of key individuals is critical to the development of local institutions for self-governance. (Stanford Social Innovation Review Vol. 19, Iss. 2, (Spring 2021): 63-64)

Unselfish leadership key to tackling creeping environmental problems

Study concludes that nature benefits when more women make land management decisions

Cash payments prompt tropical forest users to harvest less

Local government engagement, decentralized policies can help reduce deforestation

When farmers must pay for groundwater, they cut use by a third

To Save Their Water Supply, Colorado Farmers Taxed Themselves

Recent Publications

Andersson, K.P. Chang, K. Molina Garzon, A.L. 2020. Voluntary Leadership and the Emergence of Institutions for Self-Governance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Root, E., Menken, J., Zarychta, A., Grillos, T., Andersson, K. 2020. Organizations Matter in Local Governance: Evidence from Health Sector Decentralization in Honduras. Health Policy and Planning

Cook, N.J., Grillos, T., Andersson, K.P. 2019. Gender Quotas Increase Equality and Effectiveness of Climate Policy Interventions. Nature Climate Change 9 (4): 330-334.

Andersson, K.P., Cook, N.J., Grillos, T., Lopez, M.C., Salk, C.F., Wright, G.D., Mwangi, E. 2018. Experimental Evidence on Payments for Forest Commons Conservation. Nature Sustainability 1(3): 128-135

Andersson, K.P., Smith, S.M., Alston, L.J. Duchelle, A. E., Mwangi, E., Larson, A.M., de Sassi, C., Sills, E.O., Sunderlin, W.D. and Wong, G. Y. 2018. Wealth and the Distribution of Benefits from Tropical Forests: Implications for REDD+. Land Use Policy 72: 510-522

Heikkila, T. and Andersson, K. 2018. Policy Design and the Added-Value of the Institutional Analysis Development Framework. Policy & Politics, 46(2): 309-324.

Smith, S.M., Andersson, K.P., Cody, K.C., Cox, M. Ficklin, D. 2017. Responding to a Groundwater Crisis: The Effects of Self-Imposed Economic Incentives. J. Assoc. Environmental and Resource Economists 4(4):985-1025.

Valdivieso, P.E., Andersson, K.P., Villena-Roldan, B. 2017. Institutional Drivers of Adaptation in Local Government Decision Making: Evidence from Chile. Climatic Change 143(1):157-171.

Cook, N.J., Wright, G.D. and Andersson, K.P 2017. Local Politics of Forest Governance: Why NGO Support Can Reduce Local Government Responsiveness. World Development 92: 203-14.

Valdivieso, P. and Andersson, K. 2017. Local Politics of Environmental Disaster Risk Management: Institutional Analysis and Lessons from Chile. Journal of Environment and Development 26(1): 51 - 81.

Dilling, L., Pizzi, E., Berggren, J., Ravikumar, A. Andersson, K. 2017. Drivers of adaptation: Responses to weather- and climate-related hazards in 60 local governments in the intermountain Western U.S. Environment and Planning A 2017 49(11): 2628-2648.


Wright, G.D., Andersson, K.P., Gibson, C.C., Evans, T. 2016. Decentralization May Reduce Deforestation when User Groups Engage with Local Government. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(52): 14958-14963.

Andersson, K., Lawrence, D., Zavaleta, J., Guariguata, M. R. 2016. More Trees, More Poverty? The Socioeconomic Effects of Tree Plantations in Chile, 2001-2011. Environmental Management 57:123-136.

Most Recent Book

Pursuing Sustainability book cover

Dr. Andersson, along with co-authors Pamela Matson and William C. Clark, has published: "Pursuing Sustainability: A Guide to the Science and Practice", Princeton University Press, March 2016. Described as "A primer for students and practitioners who are seeking a more systematic and comprehensive platform on which to base their pursuits of sustainability", the book explores frameworks and approaches for understanding, analyzing, and effectively engaging in sustainability challenges, addressing the question of how to achieve sustainability, presenting that the ultimate determinants of intergenerational well-being should be thought of as the stocks of assets on which people now draw and will draw in the future to subsist and improve their lives – stocks that include natural, social, manufactured, human, and knowledge capital.

New Research Projects (externally funded)

National Science Foundation: DRMS: Inequalities, Institutions, and Sustainability: An Experimental Study of Local Efforts to Govern the Commons. (PI) Grant #: SES-1757136, 2018-2021

Belmont Forum: T2S: Amazonian Governance to Enable Transformations to Sustainability (Co-PI). Grant #T2S-789, 2018-2021

Working Papers