Representation in Collaborative Governance: A Case Study of a Food Policy Council

Chris Koski, Saba Siddiki, Abdul Akeem Sadiq, Julia Carboni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Representation is a hallmark of democratic governance. Widely studied within traditional modes of governance, representation is less studied in alternative governance settings, such as collaborative governance arrangements. Collaborative governance arrangements are specifically designed to encourage inclusion and participation among a diverse array of stakeholders in some part of the policy process. Our research contrasts different forms of representation observed in a collaborative governance arrangement and identifies factors contributing to observed patterns in representation therein. We analyze descriptive representation (i.e., “representation in form”) or substantive representation (i.e., “representation in practice”) and look for inconsistencies between them. Our case study is a regional food policy council located in the Western United States. Among our findings is that discrepancies between descriptive and substantive representation can be explained by shared goals, local norms, organizational structure, and heterogeneity in member capacity. We conclude our article with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of this research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-373
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • collaborative governance
  • food governance
  • food policy councils
  • food politics
  • representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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