Building green: Local political leadership addressing climate change

Taedong Lee, Chris Koski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Municipal agreements have been instrumental in communicating commitment to addressing climate change at the local level. However, what is the practical implication of this potentially symbolic decision? This study examines the power of mayoral participation in climate change agreements in driving the proliferation of sustainable or "green" building in a city as a mechanism to reach its climate change goals. In addition, mayors can localize what is otherwise a public good by framing green buildings as having other tangible impacts on a community. We analyze the impact of political leadership on green building projects in 591 cities in 50 U.S. states, controlling for a variety of city- and state-level variables. Hierarchical models indicate that mayoral leadership in climate change policy fosters green building, while state-level predictors are not as important as city policy in creating green buildings. Our research concludes that local governments can be a very effective venue in addressing broad climate change goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-624
Number of pages20
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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