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Institutional Arrangement and Policy Context Underlying Sustainability Actions in the U.S.: Lessons for Asian Regions  

Hwang, Joungyoon (Department of Public Administration at Yonsei University)
Song, Minsun (Department of Political Science, Valdosta State University)
Cho, Seong (Center for Disaster & Safety Research at Chungnam Institute)
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Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia / v.19, no.1, 2020 , pp. 59-83 More about this Journal
This paper examines the actions and the factors driving those actions to reduce energy consumption and enhance energy efficiency taken by United States cities. While not much empirical evidence is available on why governments pursue practical sustainability actions, we attempt to shed more light on this important topic by empirically identifying factors that contribute to concrete actions toward sustainability policies. We adopt political market theory as a basic theoretical framework with policy-making applied to city energy consumption. Using the 2010 ICMA (local government sustainability policies and program) data, this study expands the focus of analyses to evaluate the effect of the form of government on energy consumption and energy efficiency by using multiple regression analysis. The findings show that at the city level, the mayor-council form of government are negatively associated with governments' efforts to reduce energy consumption. However, cities with at-large elections and municipal ownership are more likely to adopt sustainability actions. We also find that a large-scale economy has significant effects on the effort to reduce city energy consumption and improve energy efficiency. This shows that environmental policies are directly connected to locally relevant affairs, including housing, energy use, green transportation, and water. Thus, local level administrators could take an executive role to protect the environment, encourage the development of alternative energy, and reduce the use of fossil fuel and coal energy. These efforts can lead to important environmental ramifications and relevant actions by municipal governments.
sustainability; form of government; energy policy; political market framework;
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