The Structure of City Action : Institutional Embeddedness and Sustainability Practices in U.S. Cities

in American Review of Public Administration, 51 (2)

Brandtner, Christof ; Suárez, David

Voir la revue «American Review of Public Administration»

Cities often embrace policies to take responsibility for social problems such as battling climate change, maintaining civil and human rights, or planning for economic development. Why cities and their administrations differ in their propensity to enact policy innovations and public management reforms is not obvious. Drawing on sociological institutionalism, we posit that cities adopt actions that they deem appropriate in response to institutional pressures, both local and shared. Using survey ... and administrative data from the sustainability practices of 1,540 municipal governments throughout the United States, we demonstrate the effects of underexplored mimetic and normative influences on cities. Cities in innovative states and regions that embrace sustainability, cities that are characterized by organizational rationalization and have memberships in professional associations, and cities that accommodate expansive nonprofit sectors are the most likely to tackle threats to the natural environment, controlling for a host of political, demographic, and administrative factors. We conclude by elaborating a research agenda to further test our core proposition that nested institutional influences contribute to public sector reform, offering an institutional theory of city action.

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