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Cityscape: Volume 15 Number 1 | Article 5


Climate Change and City Hall

Volume 15 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Partisanship and Local Climate Policy

Elisabeth R. Gerber, University of Michigan


This article examines the relationship between partisanship and cities’ approaches to climate policy. Do partisan patterns at the local level match patterns at the national level? Whose partisanship matters: that of elected officials, citizens, or other actors? Previous research indicates that constraints created by the federal system dampen the effects of partisanship on many local policies. Given the absence of strong federal policy direction in the environmental policy arena, this article’s hypothesis is that these dampening effects will be minimal and clear partisan differences are expected to emerge at the local level. Employing data from a recent survey of local government officials, the analysis provides evidence that the specific constituencies targeted by a given policy affect whose partisanship matters. These effects remain robust after accounting for the broader partisan environment. These findings have important implications for our growing understanding of the determinants of local climate policy and the influence of partisanship in local politics.

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