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Indiana University

Rachel M. Krause


Public Affairs

Exam and Minor Fields:

Major: Policy Analysis and Environmental Policy
Minor: Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change

Special Skills and/or Knowledge Base:

  • Policy Analysis
  • Hierarchal Modeling
  • Intermediate GIS
  • Survey Methodologies

Dissertation Title:

Local Decision Making and Policy Innovation: Municipal Involvement in Climate Protection

Dissertation Committee:

  • Evan Ringquist (Chair)
  • Kenneth Richards
  • Barry Rubin

Current Dissertation Progress and Expected Defense Date:

Progress: I am completing data collection and analysis on a pilot project, which the larger dissertation research will mirror. The “lessons learned” from this experience should ensure that I am able to maintain a steady pace on completing the full dissertation.

Expected Defense Date: July 2010

Dissertation Abstract:

This research presents an effort to fill-in the data and knowledge gap around municipal climate protection initiatives. Over 1,000 U.S. municipalities have formally committed to reduce local GHG emissions through their participation in one of several climate protection networks. Theory on free-riding and the under-production of public goods suggests that local governments would be reluctant to voluntarily pursue policy which creates global benefits but entails local costs. Whereas, joining a climate protection network and/or adopting official emissions reduction policy are relatively low cost acts, the implementation of such policies entails higher costs. This raises legitimate questions about the extent and type of follow-through made on municipal climate protection commitments.

A lack of comparable data has prevented research from providing systematic, generalizable insight into the local climate protection dynamic. Research on the subject has generally taken the form of case-studies or quantitative models which use membership in a climate protection network as a binary dependent variable. No large-n study has looked beyond surface-level policy adoption to examine the type, extent, and motivations behind the greenhouse gas reduction policies that are actually being implemented by municipalities.

Employing survey methodologies, this research assembles original data about the extent and type of GHG-reducing policies being implemented by local governments in the U.S. The data is used to construct an index which quantifies municipal climate protection and assesses the ability of several local policy-making theories to explain cities’ decisions to take initiative on this issue.