Green governance innovation: The institutional political market for energy sustainable communities

by Bae, Jungah, Ph.D., THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, 2012, 146 pages; 3519276


What is green governance? Governance is generally defined as steering rather than rowing the changing processes of policy decisions and actions across the boundaries of the private, public and civic sectors (O'Leary, Gerard, and Bingham 2006a). Increasingly, this concept of governance has been widely employed in policy areas such as service delivery, emergency management, education and environment (Biermann et al 2009).Green governance promotes sustainability through both governmental and nongovernmental entrepreneurism as well as through partnerships and collaborations.

Three important but little understood elements of adoption of governmental programs and policy tools on local sustainability and climate protection are: mobilization of entrepreneurs in the community and within government to promote innovation that alters citizens behaviors to encourage sustainability (Krause 2011), political institutions to structure incentives to promote sustainability in the community or governmental operations (Cook 2010; Keohane, Revesz and Stavins 1997), networking to link local governments within a metropolitan region, and inter-organizational coordinating across governmental authorities, for-profit and nonprofit entities to promote energy and environmental sustainability (Schneider et al. 2003; Krause 2010).

In the U.S. only a minority of communities have made substantial progress toward green governance. For instance, Jepson (2004) shows the variance of sustainable development which has taken action in terms of thirty-nine policies and techniques in U.S. cities. On the face, it appears that there are substantial obstacles to collective action toward local green governance (Carolyn and Schneider 2003; Krause 2010; Feiock et al. 2009). A critical question this dissertation addresses is how to explain the variation across communities, and how some communities have overcome the barriers to green governance and others not?

One approach to understanding the transition to green governance is based on market supply and demand logic. Property rights theories argue that governance institutions emerge in response to scarcity and changes in relative prices (Libecap 1989; Alchian and Demsetz 1973; North 1990). Demand for new institutions is generated by the potential efficiency gains (Alchian and Demsetz 1973). This simple model provides a powerful and parsimonious explanation for institutional change but it neglects the role played by political institutions. Feiock and Lubell advance a political market model that highlights the role of political institutions (Feiock 2006; Lubell, Feiock and Ramierez 2005; 2009). One limitation of the Feiock (2006) and Lubell (2005) approach to political market explanations is emphasis on formal political institutions to the exclusion of the role of network relationships as informal institutions. This dissertation modifies and extends this political market model to advance an explanation of local green governance transition and to test it empirically. In other words, the primary concern here is about the "institutional political market explanation for green governance innovation".

Cities are the central actors for framing values and diffusion of knowledge in ways that can complement command-control regulations and market competition. Cities shape public and private sector energy efficiency and conservation through a wide array of activities and responsibilities including transportation, land use regulation and building code policy decisions (Coenen and Menkveld 2002; Krause 2010). They also support energy conservation innovations and greenhouse gas mitigation programs through their own utilities as well as through programs that jurisdictions coordinate with utility companies. Thus cities play a critical role in fostering energy efficient technologies, improving existing and new construction building efficiencies and establishing energy system integration to enhance sustainable community developments.

While extensive literature exists on the transfer of technologies and partnerships (Bozeman 2000; Link 2005), far less research exists examining the role of local governments in sustainability. Therefore, the investigation of local governments' roles affecting the variation of green governance is itself a unique contribution, raising questions about the motivations and capacities of municipalities to play that role.

AdviserRichard C. Feiock
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEnvironmental studies; Public administration; Public policy; Sustainability; Energy
Publication Number3519276

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