Democratic innovations, such as participatory and deliberative fora have proliferated in the field of environmental governance, with the expectation that these novel approaches to public decision-making will improve environmental policy. This chapter reviews the interdisciplinary literature on democratic innovations in environmental governance, and explores different settings, forms, and functions characterising democratic innovations in the field. We discuss different mechanisms through which democratic innovations are expected to improve environmental decision-making. We review available evidence on the link between democratic innovations and environmental outcomes as assembled in the environmental governance literature. We close by discussing currently understudied aspects of democratic innovation in the context of environmental governance and beyond, including the question of ‘elite’ versus ‘mass’ or ‘lay’ participation; the application of democratic innovations in non-democratic countries; and the issue of learning about ‘what works’ in democratic innovations across contexts.
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