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Local Environmental Groups, the Creation of Social Capital, and Environmental Policy: Evidence from Vermont


  • Christopher McGrory Klyza
  • Andrew Savage
  • Jonathan Isham



Scholars who have studied local environmental groups and their effects in the United States have tended to agree about three related, stylized facts: that such groups are widespread, that they are pursuing a diverse set of activities, and, at least implicitly, that they are creating social capital that significantly affects environmental policy and outcomes. However, a healthy skepticism of these claims among academics and within the policy community exists due to a lack of significant data to verify them. In this article, (1) we collect and interpret data to demonstrate, in two counties of central Vermont, that local environmental groups are indeed pursuing a diverse set of activities, developing a typology of these groups based on their main focus; (2) we show the groups are developing and maintaining social capital; and (3) we illustrate how these methodologies can enhance the literature on local environmental groups by testing claims about the extent and influence of these groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher McGrory Klyza & Andrew Savage & Jonathan Isham, 2005. "Local Environmental Groups, the Creation of Social Capital, and Environmental Policy: Evidence from Vermont," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0407r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0407r

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ganz, Marshall Louis & Skocpol, Theda & Munson, Ziad, 2000. "A Nation of Organizers: The Institutional Origins of Civic Voluntarism in the United States," Scholarly Articles 12641806, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Jonathan Isham & Jeff Polubinski, 2002. "Killington Mountain Resort: A Case Study of 'Green' Expansion in Vermont," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0208, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    3. Andrew Savage & Christopher McGrory Klyza & Jonathan Isham, 2004. "The Greening of Social Capital: An Examination of Land-Based Groups in Two Vermont Counties," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0306r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:03:p:527-546_22 is not listed on IDEAS
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    local environmental groups; social capital; local organizations; Vermont;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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