Dr. Kent Portney, ISTPP Director, presented research on the relationships between measures of multilevel governance and the pursuit of sustainability by large US cities at the recently concluded SPSA conference. The research team investigates this relationship using data from a survey of city administrators in 50 of the largest cities in the US to measure aspects of multilevel governance and independent measures of how aggressively cities seem to be pursuing sustainability. The analyses show significant variation across cities in their frequency of interactions and contacts among multiple levels of government and the extent to which they include other governments in city policy deliberations. The authors find very strong evidence that multilevel governance has very little to do with cities’ decisions to adopt and implement sustainability policies and programs. There is even evidence that when cities engage in multilevel governance they are less likely to take the pursuit of sustainability seriously, suggesting the other levels of government might actually impede, rather than stimulate, pro-environmental policies.
Bowman, Ann O’M, Kent E. Portney, and Jeffrey M. Barry. 2017. “Multilevel Governance and City Sustainability Policies: Does It Exist? Does It Matter?” Paper presented at the Local Governance and Sustainability Conference within Conference, at the 88th annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, January 12-14.