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Hazardous Wastes, Politics, and Public Policy: A Comparative State Analysis

James P. Lester, James L. Franke, Ann O'M. Bowman and Kenneth W. Kramer
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 257-285
DOI: 10.2307/448242
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/448242
Page Count: 29
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Hazardous Wastes, Politics, and Public Policy: A Comparative State Analysis
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Abstract

This paper explores the influence of economic, technological, and political factors upon the fifty American states' policy responses to the problem of hazardous waste regulation. The research endeavors to integrate environmental policy research into the mainstream comparative state policy tradition. Previous comparative state studies suggest that economic resources are strongly related to state policy outputs while political factors (such as Democratic party strength, interparty competition, legislative professionalism, etc.) are only weakly or negatively related to policy outputs. This study, by constrast, finds a more restricted role being played by economic factors. Both technological factors (especially technological factors relating to the severity of the problem) and political factors (especially legislative professionalism and consolidation of the state environmental bureaucracy) are strongly related to public policies enacted for the regulation of hazardous waste. Thus, technological forces and state administrative-organizational capabilities deserve more attention in future studies of state environmental protection activities.

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