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have had a negative personal experience in cooperation they will

therefore be more likely to mistrust others, and successful

collaboration will be harder to achieve. Put differently, a

positive past collaboration experience is good for building trust

with potential partners, which can establish stronger

commitment, reduce costs in monitoring compliance (Agranoff

& McGuire, 2001), and result in future collaboration.

At the organizational level, past experience also plays a key

role in determining the rationale of collaborative actions

according to path dependency theory, which applies a historic

view to analyses of the determinants of policy outcomes or

political actions. Pierson (2000) uses the concept of increasing

returns, which refers to concentrating on steps in a specific

direction that cause further movement in the same direction, to

explain the appearance of path dependency. Organizations with

past experience in collaboration, on the one hand, may have

invested sunk costs in arranging the partnership; on the other

hand, these experienced organizations have more information

about building partnerships than do other organizations, which

is expected to decrease their uncertainty when taking

collaborative actions.

C. Organizational External Factors

(A) Disaster Magnitude

Collaboration is extremely important to EM because

emergencies and disasters maybe too severe to be handled by a

single public agency, and maybe not limited by jurisdictional

boundaries (McGuire & Silvia, 2010; Rubin, 2007). In general,

the hierarchy of disasters can be thought of as a pyramid with

three levels. At the base are emergencies that local government

can solve alone or with other local partners. At the second level

are emergencies that are primarily dealt with by the local

government, but state government officials and resources are