Mills and Gore: “Public and local government leader opinions on environmental federalism”

October 7, 2016

An article by Sarah Mills and Christopher Gore, “Public and local government leader opinions on environmental federalism: Comparing issues and national contexts,” was published in the September 2016 issue of State and Local Government Review.


How should regulatory authority over environmental policy issues be allocated? While there has been previous work on public preferences regarding environmental federalism, less attention has been paid to the opinions of local government officials, who are often on the front lines testing the limits (or not) of their authority. Using survey data of public and local official opinion about environmental federalism, this article finds that local government officials often see a significantly different role for national, subnational, and local government than their constituents, even after accounting for demographic differences between the groups. This article draws on data from two subnational jurisdictions in different countries (Michigan, United States and Ontario, Canada) and finds that the differences between the general public and local officials are durable even with a change in national context.