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Jacob’s research broadly focuses on how the structures of collaboration among actors engaged in governance of natural resources influences core governance processes, including cooperation, social learning, and resource distribution. He is currently working with Örjan Bodin to understand how interactions among social and ecological variables – modeled as coupled social-ecological networks – impact governance processes and outcomes across multiple scales, and also identify strategies for improving the “fit” between environmental governance challenges and institutional responses. The empirical context for these various research projects ranges from Latin America to Sweden.
In his research Jacob frequently draws on complex social-ecological systems theory to frame questions and identify study variables. He also employs both qualitative (e.g. case study comparison) and quantitative (e.g. network analysis) methods to test hypotheses. He believes strongly in the value of interdisciplinary approaches to scientific problem-solving, and his research experiences inside and outside of academia blend methods and tools from the fields of watershed hydrology, natural resources management, political science, human ecology, international development, and sustainability science.
Jacob received his PhD in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis in 2016, under the mentorship of Mark Lubell. His dissertation research addressed the unique challenges to water governance at the local and regional levels in Central America, and specifically centered on the roots of conflict, collective action, and stakeholder network structures. He designed and implemented his dissertation research in conjunction with practitioners working for the Global Water Initiative.
Prior to graduate school at UC Davis, he received a BSc in applied science and engineering from James Madison University in 2008.
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