• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Within a federal system, government agencies and regulatory policies can be fractured -- even at odds with each other. National actors share power with their counterparts in states and localities, as do presidents with Congressional leaders, and bureaucrats with judges. Understanding the broad economic and political contexts of environmental policymaking illuminates the motivations behind policy choices of various interested parties, from the National Park Service and the EPA to environmental activists and members of Congress. Rothenberg utilizes basic economic ideas to provide, not only a fresh look at how the U.S. deals with environmental ills, but a way of thinking about policy making in general.

National Political Influences on Environmental Policy
National political influences on environmental policy

The last chapter sketched an evolving environmental policy system with two defining characteristics, notably, growth in reach and breadth and fragmentation and lack of rationalization in design and execution. These features substantially reflect how growing demand for environmental protection interacts with the institutions supplying policy outputs. Societal demands are aggregated through various mechanisms and mediated by supply-side political institutions. Demand and supply are endogenous, one causing the other such that supply-side institutions are influenced by demands, as institutions themselves are malleable, and supply-side forces are affected by political institutions, as public opinion and their means of aggregation are manipulable. Policy outputs then emerge out of this reinforcing interaction of demand and supply.

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