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Abigail Sullivan

Abigail Sullivan


Abigail Sullivan is an environmental social scientist studying social-ecological systems and environmental governance from an institutional perspective. Her research has explored invasive species issues, water governance, climate change policy, pro-environmental behaviors, and renewable energies. She is broadly interested in understanding factors influencing collective action in communities facing global environmental changes and how these communities overcome associated barriers; collective action processes at multiple scales; and modeling techniques to explore difficult to observe aspects of institutions, like long-term changes in social norms. As a postdoctoral researcher for Decision Center for a Desert City, she analyzes sustainability transitions in three cities (Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas) dependent on the Colorado River. To carry out her research, she regularly uses both qualitative and quantitative methods and finds that using a variety of tools often provides a more holistic understanding of social-ecological issues.

Journal Articles


Schoon, M. L., A. M. York, A. Sullivan and J. Baggio. 2017. The emergence of an environmental governance network: The case of the Arizona borderlands. Regional Environmental Change 17(3):677-689. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-016-1060-x. (link )

Sullivan, A., D. D. White, K. L. Larson and A. Y. Wutich. 2017. Towards water sensitive cities in the Colorado River Basin: A comparative historical analysis to inform future urban water sustainability transitions. Sustainability 9(5):761. DOI: 10.3390/su9050761.

Sullivan, A., A. M. York, L. An, S. T. Yabiku and S. J. Hall. 2017. How does perception at multiple levels influence collective action in the commons? The case of Mikania micrantha in Chitwan, Nepal. Forest Policy and Economics 80(Jul):1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2017.03.001. (link )

Sullivan, A., A. M. York, D. D. White, S. J. Hall and S. T. Yabiku. 2017. De jure versus de facto institutions: Trust, information, and collective efforts to manage the invasive mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha). International Journal of the Commons 11(1):. DOI: 10.18352/ijc.676. (link )



Rauh, E., V. N. Horvath, A. Sullivan, K. L. Larson and D. D. White. 2018. Water in the Arid Southwest: Public Perceptions on Transformational Strategies for Sustainability. Poster presented at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting, February 14-19, 2018, Austin, Texas.


Andress, S., H. Paul and A. Sullivan. 2017. Water Wise Gilbert Contribution to the Reduction of Commercial Water Consumption. Poster presented at the 2017 DCDC Poster Symposium, April 24, 2017, Tempe, AZ.


Sullivan, A., A. M. York and K. Hjelm. 2015. Understanding the impact of institutional heterogeneity on the management of the mile-a-minute weed in Chitwan, Nepal.. Poster presented at the Seventeenth Annual CAP LTER All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium, 16 January 2015, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )