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COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE

COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE

more integrating manner.

more integrating manner. This dissertation will develop and test a comprehensive model to explain pro-environmental land use policy change, built upon Institutional Analysis and Development framework, which is modified by the Political Market Framework. The framework has been developed by Feiock (1999), Lubell et al. (2005), Gerber (1999), and Gerber and Phillips (2004) to understand local land use policy choice and change. In addition, Political scientists have developed the frameworks for policy studies. One of critical issues that those frameworks try to address is to explain policy changes. Explaining policy changes is central to the social sciences (Schlager and Blomquist 1996). Kingdon (1984; 1995), Jenkins Smith and Sabatier (1993), Baumgartner and Jones (1993), etc. have contributed considerably on this issue. However, these works heavily focus on national and state level, not local level policies. Thus, the efforts to understand policy choice change is a demanding issue to develop a more general theoretical framework at the local level. Land use policy field at the local level provides a useful empirical setting for testing hypotheses and expanding theoretical generalizability at the different level (Lubell et al. 2005; Feiock 2004). Existing Research and Problems This section provides the strengths and weaknesses of various theoretical frameworks that have explained local land use policy change. Extant research on local land use policy can be classified into four categories. The first stream of research holds a deterministic view of policy change. This approach views local land use policy change as a function of various physical, social, and economic indicators (Fleischmann 1989; Fleischmann and Pierannuzi 1990). The embedded nature of those indicators determines a local land use policy. For example, Evenson and Wheaton (2005) examined land use variations in Massachusetts. Their research findings indicated that local land use variations are the results of combined impact of local land use patterns and community characteristics such as wealth. They found that patterns of current and future buildings combined with wealth indicators provided a greater incentive to impose stringent land use regulation. Even though their findings are consistent with their expectations, the 3

weakness is that they did not consider formal institutions of local governing bodies that actually make decisions and impact urban land use policy change. The second stream of land use policy applies a traditional interest group model approach (Elkin 1985; Logan and Molotch 1987). This model argues that since voters pay attention to who is elected and what their regulatory policies might be, candidates spend a lot of time and effort in promoting policies that provide “pleasure” to voters’ preferences. The interest group model suggests that land use regulations tend to be favorable to landowners, “who have a more concentrated stake in the value of their assets, than by environmentalists” (Fischel 2005, p.398). Benson (1981) argues that “land use regulations are the result of public sector responses to demands of politically powerful special interest groups.” Both arguments imply that powerful local interest groups such as landowners influence land use policy decision making process. From a slightly different angle, some scholars argue the change of land use policy is resulted from the power shift of the interest groups. Logan and Molotch (1987) argue that development and business interest groups affect local land use policy decisions. Their influences press local elected officials share incentives of promoting business and commercial developments, consequently pleasing locally based property owners, developers and businesses (See also Gerber and Phillips 2004). In a reverse logic, those who make their profit from land development rely on local governments to provide infrastructure and regulation, which influence their costs and benefits. Thus, they use to be active participants in local land use decision making (Lubell et al. 2005). This approach identifies how interest groups in the policy areas, which have distributional conflicts, influence on the local land use regulation. Even though this model sometimes identifies institutional arrangements, it ignores how the administrative structure and capacity might have an impact on land use regulation decision making process. For example, the planning literature argues that the planning commissions and planning departments of local governments influence the land use regulation decision (Fleischmann and Piernnuzi 1990). In addition, social and economic characteristics are treated usually as control variables (Lubell et al. 2005; Ostrom et.al 1994). 4

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