Global Environment and Local Governments: Global Norms, Policy Adoption, and Local Diffusion


  • Nara Park Yonsei University, Department of Public Administration
Keywords: environmental norms, sustainable development, low carbon green growth, policy diffusion


This article investigates a central question in modern organization theory, how organizations adapt to environmental changes by examining  the diffusion of environmental ordinances among Korean local governments, 1995 to 2016. There are two waves in the diffusion; ‘Environment Basic Ordinance (1996-2007)’ and ‘Green Growth Ordinance (2010-2013).’ We argue that Korean local governments have increasingly become autonomous and accountable actors that respond to diversified stimulus from surrounding environments, while also concerning about their own needs and capacity. Hence, in adopting ‘Green Growth Ordinances,’ competitively adopted in the 2010s, Korean local governments considered more factors than they had done for ‘Environment Basic Ordinances.’ Employing event history analysis, we find empirical support for this argument. By comparing the diffusion pattern of the two environmental ordinances, this paper traces changing mechanisms of local environmental governance as well as policy diffusion among Korean local governments.


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