Interest Group Participation in City Politics

35 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 14 Aug 2012

See all articles by Jeffrey M. Berry

Jeffrey M. Berry

Tufts University

Kent E. Portney

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service

Date Written: 2012


Many cities across the United States have embraced programs aimed at sustainability. This may seem surprising as adopting aggressive environmental protection programs are regarded by some as inimical to economic development. An alternative perspective is that in the modern city sustainability can be part of an economic development strategy. To explore the actual behavior of cities we draw on two original databases on 50 large American cities. One source of data is composed of survey responses from city councilors, agency administrators, and leaders of local advocacy groups in each of these cities. The second database contains information as to what these 50 cities actually do in terms of sustainable programs and policies. In testing a series of hypotheses, we find that: a high number of programs aimed at promoting sustainability is linked to the inclusion of environmental advocacy groups; that this relationship is not compromised by business advocacy; and that inclusion of environmental groups in policymaking seems to be supported, rather than impeded, by high rates of economic growth by the cities.

Keywords: urban politics, sustainability, environmental protection, interest groups

Suggested Citation

Berry, Jeffrey M. and Portney, Kent E., Interest Group Participation in City Politics (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey M. Berry (Contact Author)

Tufts University ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

Kent E. Portney

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service ( email )

TAMU 4220
1004 George Bush Dr West
College Station, TX 77843
United States

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