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Local-level influences on environmental policy implementation in Eastern Europe: a theoretical framework and a Hungarian case study

  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Political Science


The author aims to develop a framework to explain local-level implementation of postsocialist environmental policies, and provides some case study evidence from Hungary. He starts by examining the evidence on environmental policy implementation in advanced capitalist North America and Western Europe as an indication of the possibilities compatible with certain forms of capitalism, and on the patterns under state socialism as a possible source of ‘legacy’ effects. A number of similarities are shown to exist despite the very different socioeconomic systems involved. He goes on to outline a set of hypotheses concerning the interrelation between local level actors—enterprises, local governments, branches of national ministries, and the public (organised and unorganised)—and the local power structures thus created, as the immediate determinants of local-level environmental policy in postsocialist conditions. Recent studies on this subject are summarised, and the author concludes by examining evidence from a case study of Dunaujvaros, a ‘steel town’ in Hungary. Although the emphasis is on the openness of the possibilities and forces which are likely to shape the actual pattern of implementation, it is suggested that the patterns likely to be found in postsocialist Eastern Europe may not be dissimilar from those in advanced capitalist conditions because of the similarity between legacy effects of the old system and emergent effects of the new system.

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