Document Type


Publication Date



In response to calls from previous scholarship for further bottom-up examination of local government roles in environmental policy, the authors revisit local air agencies to examine two separate phenomena occurring in environmental federalism: one from the top-down (second- order devolution) and one from the bottom-up (local activism). Using survey data from local air agencies on devolved authorities to set air quality standards and to enforce federal and/or state standards, the authors identify three different types of local agencies: state administrative sub- units (only enforcement authority), fully devolved agencies (authority to both set and enforce standards), and activist agencies (neither authority). Further findings indicate that state administrative sub-units and fully-devolved agencies are likely functions of second-order devolution, while activist agencies are likely functions of local activism. Conclusions suggest that both top-down and bottom-up approaches to environmental federalism are shaping local government roles in environmental management.

Copyright Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

Fowler, L. & Jones, B (2019). Second‐Order Devolution or Local Activism?: Local Air Agencies Revisited. Review of Policy Research, 36(6), 757-780.

which has been published in final form at doi: 10.1111/ropr.12361. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.