Congratulations to ESS Member Dr. Jonas Meckling (University of California, Berkeley) and Dr. Jonas Nahm (Johns Hopkins University) for winning the Evan J. Ringquist Best Paper Award for their 2018 paper, “The power of process: State capacity and climate policy” in Governance.
The award recognizes the best paper published in a relevant journal in the last two years and is awarded by The Science, Technology, & Environmental Politics section of the American Political Science Association.
Paper Abstract: State capacity is central to the provision of public goods, including environmental protection. Drawing on climate policy making, this article argues that the division of labor between the bureaucracy and legislature in policy formulation is a critical source of state capacity. In cases of bureaucratic policy design, the legislature sets policy goals and delegates policy design to bureaucracies. This division of labor shifts distributional conflict to autonomous bureaucracies, allowing for effective policy design. California followed this path in climate policy making, setting it on track to meet climate goals. In cases of legislative policy design, bureaucracies set goals and legislatures design policy measures. Since legislators have incentives to respond to vested interests, legislative policy design is vulnerable to regulatory capture. In Germany, legislative policy design in climate policy making is preventing attainment of emissions reduction goals, as industry interests succeeded in blocking key policy measures. Our findings highlight procedural sources of state capacity.