Interest Group Participation in City Politics
35 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 14 Aug 2012
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
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