Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1791–1799 | Cite as

The emergence of climate change policy entrepreneurs in urban regions

  • Scott E. KalafatisEmail author
  • Maria Carmen Lemos
Original Article


The development of climate change policy in cities has been closely tied to the efforts of particular individuals, policy entrepreneurs. However, there is still much we do not know about the conditions underlying the emergence and spread of policy entrepreneurship both generally and in support of climate change policies specifically. In this paper, we shed light on these issues using data from 371 mid-sized cities throughout the Great Lakes region of the USA. Building upon scholarship from the public choice literature, we explore the role that fragmentation, that is, the number of independent but connected governmental units both within the city itself as well as in the city’s regional metropolitan or micropolitan area play in explaining the emergence of climate entrepreneurship. We show that not only does fragmentation at both of these levels help predict the emergence of climate change entrepreneurs in individual cities, but also exchanges between these levels could drive the rapid development of policy entrepreneurship and related policy innovations throughout urban systems.


Cities Metropolitan/micropolitan regions Policy entrepreneurs Fragmentation Policy innovation 



This research was supported in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program (Grant NA10OAR4310213/Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments). We thank all of our survey respondents throughout the region who were willing to share their knowledge with us. We would also especially like to thank Yun-Jia Lo for her essential feedback on the quantitative analysis in this paper as well as Scott Campbell and Sara Hughes for their comments on a previous version. Finally, we are grateful for the guidance we received from our two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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