Policy congruence between local governments and citizens - effects on political legitimacy

Authors: Petter Christiansen*,
Topics: Sustainability Science, Transportation Geography, Environmental Science
Keywords: policy congruence, political legitimacy, transportation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Johnson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Local governments across the world face challenges related to achieve targets for reducing GHG-emissions. This is a demanding task considering that climate policies often require a combined and coordinated effort among actors. Political decisions have therefore increasingly been based on cooperation in multi-level governance networks that includes actors from several layers of government. In this paper, we specifically study formal contracted goal-oriented networks between the national and local government. In the agreements, the national government provides extraordinary funding for public transport infrastructure investments if local government commits to achieve a goal of zero-growth in local car traffic. Such governance networks are embedded within the institutions of representative democracy and is arguably an effective strategy for addressing complex policy problems. But it can be questioned, however, whether this approach also leads to less congruence in policy priorities between citizens and politicians. Especially as the agreement requires increased use of restrictive policy instruments. In this paper, we study and compare the policy priorities between citizens and the elected politicians within the field of transport and study whether the required policies within the network have sufficient support among the citizens. The paper also analyzes whether the level of policy congruence influences political legitimacy.

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