Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Political economy of citizens’ participation in environmental improvement: The case of Istanbul

Adaman, Fikret and Gökşen, Fatoş and Zenginobuz, Unal (2003): Political economy of citizens’ participation in environmental improvement: The case of Istanbul. Published in: Integrating and Articulating Environments: A Challenge for Northern and Southern Europe, , Vol. Volume, No. Integrated Assessment Series (2003): pp. 73-90.

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Abstract

We aim at questioning, within a political economy framework, the institutional context of environmental policies for the case of Turkey in general and of Istanbul in particular. The paper is centred around a survey study conducted with citizens of Istanbul (n=1565), a metropolitan city whose population is around 9 millions, with regard to their attitudes and behaviours on environmental issues, together with a set of in-depth interviews (n=16) carried out with representatives of business, NGOs, trade unions, and bureaucrats. The point of departure of the paper is the claim that environmental policies are likely to alter, overtly or covertly, the income distribution of societies, and ipso facto those who will be worse off in the ex-post sense will have a clear incentive to influence public authorities and politicians (be they central or local units) in not implementing them—their success depending of course on the extent to which the governing body is not sterile but open to corruption (the so-called “government failures”). The implication of the existence of such government failures on the enforceability of regulations dealing with environmental issues is certainly an area to which attention has recently been given, both at theoretical and empirical levels, where the issue of institutional context has emerged as one if not the important issue in addressing such failures. Turkey, being one of the clear examples of the existence of such corruptive elements, should certainly offer rich inputs to the said discussion, and the paper makes an attempt to questioning the institutional aspect of environmental policies from the point of view of citizens of Istanbul and of different stakeholders.

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