Policy Expansion in Local Government Environmental Policy Making

Le Anh Nguyen Long, Gwen Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Relatively little is known about when, why, and how some jurisdictions “double down” on policy priorities, rapidly adopting multiple measures tackling the same issue. Rapid policy expansion can emerge in fast‐evolving, uncertain, and contested policy arenas in which pressures for policy making are not satisfied, and even may be strengthened, by initial policy innovation. This article analyzes local government policy making on high‐volume hydraulic fracturing by New York State municipalities from 2008 to 2012. Policy path dependence, peer influence, and policy design appear to play a critical role in determining whether public officials respond to these pressures with policy expansion. Initial policy innovations can open windows for policy participants to secure additional measures that strengthen or enlarge the scope of action. Public officials and stakeholders seeking particular policy outcomes should take a long view of the policy process while simultaneously remaining alert for opportunities afforded by pressurized policy dilemmas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-476
JournalPublic administration review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


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