Climatic Change

, Volume 143, Issue 1–2, pp 157–171 | Cite as

Institutional drivers of adaptation in local government decision-making: evidence from Chile

  • Patricio Valdivieso
  • Krister P Andersson
  • Benjamin Villena-Roldán


We study how the local institutional context shapes local government decisions about responses to perceived threats of natural disasters and climatic change. We draw on institutional theories and field observations to develop hypotheses about the effects of municipal institutional arrangements, social capital, and multilevel governance. To test these ideas, we analyze a unique dataset with over-time observations for almost all local governments in Chile. Our analysis shows multiple institutional conditions supporting proactive local adaptation: municipalities with relatively robust institutional settings tend to devote more resources to environmental risk management and adaptation. We use our quantitative model to show that altering institutional settings can make a difference for increasing local government investments in this area. Although few local governments in Chile currently enjoy favorable institutional conditions for risk reduction and adaptation, our findings identify ways through which external actors may contribute to a more propitious institutional climate.


Local governance Disaster risk management Adaptation Chile 

Supplementary material

10584_2017_1961_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4 mb)
ESM 1(PDF 4100 kb)Acknowledgements Patricio Valdivieso acknowledges financial support from the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development, FONDECYT, Grant No. 1140672. Patricio Valdivieso and Benjamín Villena-Roldán also acknowledge financial support from the Institute for Research in Market Imperfections and Public Policy (MIPP), ICM IS130002, Chilean Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism. Krister Andersson acknowledges financial support form the United States National Science Foundation, grants # DEB-1114984 and SMA-1328688. We appreciate useful comments received by anonymous referees. We also benefited from comments by Alberto Alesina, Felipe Carozzi, Dorothy M. Daley, Lisa Dilling, Prakash Kashwan, Humberto Llavador, Marina Povitkina, Martín A. Rossi, Shanker Satyanath, Matthew A. Shapiro, Matteo Triossi, Alan Zarychta, and other attendants to the 2015 and 2016 Workshops in Political Economy & Political Science (University of Chile and MIPP); Midwest Political Science Association Conferences, and Institute of Behavioral Science (Colorado U at Boulder) presentation. We express our gratitude to Gabriel Davidovics for answering many technical questions about sampling, and Joanna Broderick for editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricio Valdivieso
    • 1
  • Krister P Andersson
    • 2
  • Benjamin Villena-Roldán
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo Regional y Políticas PúblicasUniversidad de Los LagosOsornoChile
  2. 2.Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Departament of Industrial EngineeringUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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