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COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE

COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE

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transaction and bargaining costs, this long and complex review process may decrease the developers’ desire for economic development. Therefore, the district based election may be more subjected to pro-environmental land use policy change. H3-3: If a city has more district-base elected council members, it will increase the likelihood of pro-environmental amendments to local comprehensive plans. Turnovers of council members. The above argument is about the embedded mechanisms that affect the local policy choice. However, the actors in those systems are not static. The power relationship between executive and legislative bodies depends on the political situations that they face because the position of council and mayor can be stable or changed rapidly, which results in the political instability. Turnover among elected or appointed officials could offer opportunities for other officials to make policy choices that would not be approved. For example, a developmental policy choice might be decisions that could be made by decisive mayors while turnover was prevalent on the city council (Clingermayer and Feiock 2001). According to the principle agency theory, the opportunistic behavior occurs when the monitoring cost is high because of information asymmetries. In urban policy making process, councils act as multiple principal agents, while appointed managers, chief administrators, mayors, and executive bodies act as agents. Hence, when the council faces risks of frequent turnover, the monitoring costs and information asymmetries will be higher than when council is stable. Therefore, the new policy initiations may occur easily within executive bodies when the membership of councils is in turmoil. According to Fiorina (1982) and McCubbins (1985), reelection seeking legislators, under the conditions of great political conflict, may make vague delegations of policy-making authority to bureaucracies so that they can avoid the blame for controversial decisions. This supports that city governments may not choose proenvironmental policy choices in land use policy since land policy has a highly distributional. Rather, they choose pro-developmental policy to easily do credit claiming 49

for their reelection. This political instability and its resulting uncertainty might lead governments to give up providing direct environmental public goods. In addition, the benefits of pro-environmental policies do not come immediately. Economic development policies enjoy the short term benefits and outcomes such as job creation and increased tax bases. Unlike those policies, the benefits of pro-environmental policies are usually realized in the future. Thus, these long term benefits could be captured by the council members who have been seated in a long time. Hence, if legislators try to change land use policy pro-environmentally, they have to face the risk of reelection failure. H3-4: Political turmoil and consequential uncertainty will decrease the likelihood of the pro-environmental amendments to local comprehensive plans. Informal Institutions: Social Capital from Network Linkage Network bonding communities. Burt (1992; 2000) has focused on the network aspect, arguing that network structure is the key element when identifying social capital, in which certain network configurations provide better resources, and hence perceived as indicators of social capital. There are mainly two theories about the relation between network structure and social capital; network closure and structural holes. The network closure perspective can be captured in Coleman’s assumption about “network closure” as the mechanism that generates social capital, 39 which is strong tie networks in Granovetter’s term (1973). Closure network is characterized by a high level of interconnectedness, a network in which the actors are linked directly to each other by many and strong relations (Burt 2000). Closure network tends to facilitate efficiency because of enhanced communication. Because of the high interconnectedness, rich and accurate information is available to the actors. A strongly tied network, in which information flows freely, facilitates common norms and values, so vital for collective actions to be achieved. It can also help for network members to collaborate easily because opportunistic behaviors can be sanctioned (Coleman 1990; Burt 1992, 2000; Lin 2005). The basic idea of the closure argument is that a person in a network containing 39 According to Lin (2005) Bourdieu regarded “closed networks” as rich in social capital. 50

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