Table 1. Comparing scale approaches in governance theories.

  Monocentric governance Multilevel governance Adaptive governance
Governing paradigm Central authority steering society Interactions between public and private actors, from local to global level Complex interplay of social and ecological systems
Scale definitions Focus on levels at the jurisdictional scale, especially size (number of inhabitants) and territorial scope of government units Focus on multiple levels at the jurisdictional and spatial scale Focus on spatial, temporal, institutional, knowledge, and other scales, each including different levels
Why do scales matter? The ideal scale can provide both governance capacity and citizens’ trust Governance must operate at multiple levels in order to capture variations in the territorial reach of policy externalities Complex interactions across scales and levels are important drivers in social-ecological systems
Problem definitions Inappropriate size of governments, regional gap, overlapping jurisdictions Inefficiency, coordination costs, and lack of democratic legitimacy Scale mismatches and unaddressed interdependencies between levels
Dominant responses Structural reforms (amalgamation, new authorities) and clarification of responsibilities Designing and implementing coordination procedures and multilevel policy arrangements Enhancing the fit between relevant scales and creating better linkages between levels