Brad Karkkainen

  • Professor Emeritus
346 Mondale Hall


  • University of Michigan, B.A.
  • Yale Law School, J.D.


  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use Law/Planning
  • Natural Resources
  • Property Law
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Professor Bradley C. Karkkainen is a nationally recognized authority in the fields of environmental and natural resources law. After visiting at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2003, Professor Karkkainen joined the University of Minnesota faculty in January 2004 at the rank of Professor. He held the Julius E. Davis Chair in Law in 2004.

Professor Karkkainen teaches courses in environmental law, international environmental law, natural resources law, water law, land use, property, administrative law, and regulatory theory. He is the author of numerous monographs, book chapters, and articles in leading legal and social science journals. His research centers on innovative strategies for environmental regulation and natural resources management, with an emphasis on mechanisms that promote continuous adaptive learning, flexibility, transparency, and policy integration.

Prior to joining the University of Minnesota faculty, Professor Karkkainen held a visiting appointment at the University of California-Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 2002-03, and was Associate Professor at Columbia Law School in New York City from 1995 to 2003. He has also taught courses for European lawyers at Columbia Law School's Columbia-Amsterdam Program in the Netherlands, and for conservation biology graduate students at Columbia University's Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC). Professor Karkkainen holds a B.A. in philosophy (1974) from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. (1994) from the Yale Law School, where he taught legal research and writing as a teaching assistant in 1993-94 and served as an editor of both the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law.

In 1994-95, Professor Karkkainen clerked for the Hon. Patricia M. Wald on the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit. Professor Karkkainen is a principal investigator in the Project on Public Problem-Solving (POPPS), an interdisciplinary collaborative research effort at Columbia, Harvard, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota that is investigating innovative regulatory designs and mechanisms for public service delivery across a variety of policy domains. In the summers of 2002 and 2004, Professor Karkkainen held an appointment as Guest Investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Marine Policy Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, a leading center for marine science and policy studies.


Property Law: Power, Governance, and the Common Good (West, 2012)
Eric T. Freyfogle

Journal Articles

The Great Lakes Water Resources Compact and Agreement: A Model for Transboundary Governance at Subnational Scales?, 9:3 Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal 37 (2018)
The Great Lakes Water Resources Compact and Agreement: Transboundary Normativity without International Law, 39 William Mitchell Law Review 997 (2013)
Bottlenecks and Baselines: Tackling Information Deficits in Environmental Regulation, 86 Texas Law Review 1409 (2008)
Framing Rules: Breaking the Information Bottleneck, 17 New York University Environmental Law Journal 75 (2008)
Getting to "Let's Talk": Legal and Natural Destabilizations and the Future of Regional Collaboration, 8 Nevada Law Journal 811 (2008)
The Great Lakes and International Environmental Law: Time for Something Completely Different?, 54 Wayne Law Review 1571 (2008)
"New Governance" in the Great Lakes Basin: Has Its Time Arrived?, 2006 Michigan State Law Review 1249 (2006)
Information-forcing Environmental Regulation, 33 Florida State University Law Review 861 (2006)
Managing Transboundary Aquatic Ecosystems: Lessons from the Great Lakes, 19 Pacific McGeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal 209 (2006)
The Police Power Revisited: Phantom Incorporation and the Roots of the Takings "Muddle", 90 Minnesota Law Review 826 (2006)
Panarchy and Adaptive Change: Around the Loop and Back Again, 7 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 59 (2005)
"New Governance" in Legal Thought and in the World: Some Splitting as Antidote to Overzealous Lumping, 89 Minnesota Law Review 471 (2004)
Marine Ecosystem Management & A "Post-Sovereign" Transboundary Governance, 6 San Diego International Law Journal 113 (2004)
Post-Sovereign Environmental Governance, 4 Global Environmental Politics 72 (2004)
Whither NEPA?, 12 New York University Environmental Law Journal 333 (2004)
Adaptive Ecosystem Management and Regulatory Penalty Defaults: Toward a Bounded Pragmatism, 87 Minnesota Law Review 943 (2003)
Collaborative Ecosystem Governance: Scale, Complexity, and Dynamism, 21 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 189 (2002)
Environmental Lawyering in the Age of Collaboration, 2002 Wisconsin Law Review 555 (2002)
Toward a Smarter NEPA: Monitoring and Managing Government's Environmental Performance, 102 Columbia Law Review 903 (2002), reprinted in 34 Land Use & Environment Law Review 483 (2003)
Information as Environmental Regulation: TRI and Performance Benchmarking, Precursor to a New Paradigm?, 89 Georgetown Law Journal 257 (2001), reprinted in 33 Land Use & Environment Law Review 457 (2002), and in Environmental Law (The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory 2d Series, Peter S. Menell, ed., Ashgate, 2002)
After Backyard Environmentalism: Toward a Performance-Based Regime of Environmental Regulation, 44 American Behavioral Scientist 692 (2000)
Archon Fung
Charles Sabel
Beyond Backyard Environmentalism: How Communities Are Quietly Refashioning Environmental Regulation, 24 Boston Review (Oct.-Nov. 1999), reprinted in Debating the Earth: The Environmental Politics Reader 116 (John S. Dryzek & David Schlosberg, eds., Oxford University Press, 2d ed., 2005)
Charles Sabel
Archon Fung
The Risk of Risk Assessment, EarthMatters (Winter 1998-99)
Biodiversity and Land, 83 Cornell Law Review 1 (1997)
"Plain Meaning": Justice Scalia's Jurisprudence of Strict Statutory Construction, 17 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 401 (1994), reprinted in 3 Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction (Norman J. Singer, ed., West Group, 6th ed., 2000; 7th ed., 2007)
Zoning: A Reply to the Critics, 10 Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law 45 (1994), reprinted in 27 Land Use & Environment Law Review (1996), and in A Land Use Anthology (John W. Bruce, ed., Anderson Publishing, 1998)

Book Chapters

Mandated Information – Reporting, in Policy Instruments in Environmental Law 308 (Kenneth R. Richards & Josephine van Zeben, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020)
Multi-jurisdictional Water Governance in Australia: Muddle or Model?, in Reforming Water Law and Governance: From Stagnation to Innovation in Australia 57 (Cameron Holley & Darren Sinclair, eds., Springer, 2018)
Information Mandates as Environmental Regulation, in Decision Making in Environmental Law 199 (LeRoy C. Paddock, Robert L. Glicksman & Nicholas S. Bryner, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016)
Endangered Species Protection in the United States: From Prohibition to Proactive Management, in Uppsala-Minnesota Colloquium: Law, Culture and Values 237 (Mattias Dahlberg, ed., Iustus, 2009)
NEPA and the Curious Evolution of Environmental Impact Assessment in the United States, in Taking Stock of Environmental Assessment: Law, Policy and Practice 45 (Jane Holder & Donald McGillivray, eds., Routledge-Cavendish, 2007)
Information-forcing Regulation and Environmental Governance, in Law and New Governance in the EU and the US 293 (Grainne de Burca and Joanna Scott, eds., Hart Publishing, 2006)
Transboundary Ecosystem Governance: Beyond Sovereignty?, in Public Participation in the Governance of International Freshwater Resources (Carl Bruch et al., eds., United Nations University Press, 2005)
Adaptive Ecosystem Management and Regulatory Penalty Defaults, in The Jurisdynamics of Environmental Protection: Change and the Pragmatic Voice in Environmental Law (Jim Chen, ed., Environmental Law Institute, 2003)
Toward Ecologically Sustainable Democracy?, in Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance 208 (Archon Fung & Erik Olin Wright, eds., Verso, 2003)
Beyond Backyard Environmentalism, in Beyond Backyard Environmentalism (Joshua Cohen & Joel Rogers, eds., Beacon Press, 2000)
Charles Sabel
Archon Fung

Book Reviews

Hazardous Comparisons, 2 Yearbook of European Environmental Law (2004) (reviewing Kate O'Neill, Waste Trading Among Rich Nations: Building a New Theory of Environmental Regulation (MIT Press, 2000))
Book Review, 18 Connecticut Journal of International Law 389 (2002) (reviewing Eyal Benvenisti, Sharing Transboundary Resources: International Law and Optimal Resource Use (Cambridge University Press, 2002))

Other Publications

Post-Sovereign Environmental Governance: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Model, in Global Environmental Change and the Nation State: Proceedings of the 2001 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change 206 (Frank Biermann, Rainer Brohm & Klaus Dingwerth, eds., Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 2002) (PIK Report No. 80)
Comment: Conceptions of Fiscal Federalism: Dual and Shared Sovereignty, 2 Columbia Journal of European Law 565 (1996), reprinted in Harmonization of Legislation in Federal Systems: The European Union and the United States of Amerika Compared: First Symposium of the Columbia Law School and the Law Faculty of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt (Ingold Pernice, ed., Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1996)