The impact of institutional settings on local hazard mitigation efforts: a "new institutional" perspective

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Jung, Juchul

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This dissertation seeks to better explain local government’s efforts to adopt hazard mitigation policy via “new institutionalism,” and offers a more compelling generative model built on Dalton and Burby (1994)’s model. From a theoretical perspective, this dissertation explores the potential of the “new institutionalist” framework to better explain the mechanisms within institutional systems and explores the independent role of institutions (such as the plan and planning agency commitment) in hazard mitigation practice. Methodologically, this dissertation uses a multilevel modeling which allows testing of a mixed or interaction effects on regional institutional settings, in terms of the relationship of local planning institutions (e.g., local plans’ quality and local planners’ commitment) to local hazard mitigation policy adoption. By adding regional institutional variables to the model, using prior research findings in hazard mitigation and specifying cross-level interactions methodologically, this dissertation shows while each regional institutional variable (moral political culture, higher civic engagement, or strong regional planning capacity for hazard mitigation) has positive impacts on local hazard mitigation policy, the interaction terms between local planning institutions and regional institutional variables all have negative signs. That is, while the slope (or importance) of local plan quality in communities with conservative regional political culture is higher than that in communities with moral political culture, the slope (or importance) of local planning agency commitment to hazard mitigation in communities with weaker regional agency for hazard mitigation is higher than that in communities with stronger regional agencies. The most important implication in this dissertation is that we, planners, should understand these institutional contexts and use appropriate policy interventions suggested by the model to better encourage local hazard mitigation policy adoption and implementation. Based on the concept of relative importance of local planning institutions in various regional institutional settings, local hazard mitigation planners, in practice, may need to carry out the institutional scanning needed to investigate the institutional context present in a local community. Finally, this dissertation argues that the local planning institution is not just a mirror of social context, but an independent institution as an actor in the institutional framework





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