City Administrators as Political Animals: Environmental Group Access and Local Political Markets for City Sustainability Policies and Programs
30 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 24 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
To what extent do local administrators include business interests in their informal bargaining and negotiation on issues involving economic development and environmental and sustainability policies? Political market theory has provided us with significant insight into the decisions of local elected officials and top city managers, including some of the conditions under which city officials are favorably disposed toward development and pro-environmental land use policies. In this paper, we extend political market theory to decisions made by a wider array of local administrative officials. We investigate which kinds of administrators are more receptive to business advocacy than others? For example, are economic development administrators more accommodating to business associations in the policy development processes than other administrators in other types of agencies?
We investigate this and related questions with a multilevel analysis that uses a survey data set of 413 local government administrators in 50 of the 54 largest U.S. cities. This unique design and data provide new insights into local administrators’ willingness to grant access to competing interests. At the individual level we examine how variations in administrators’ personal positions, experiences, and environmental concerns, as well as the extent and efficacy of their network relations, shape business interest access. At the city level we account for variations in government size, demographic characteristics, ideology, and policy priorities of local government.
Keywords: urban politics, political maket, econmic development, hierarchical linear model
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