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Does Local Government Matter?How Urban Policies Shape Civic Engagement$
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Elaine B. Sharp

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677085

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677085.001.0001

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Government Programs Matter

Government Programs Matter

Political Learning, Policy Feedback, and the Policy-Centered Approach

(p.1) Introduction Government Programs Matter
Does Local Government Matter?

Elaine B. Sharp

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter provides an overview of the book’s main themes. The book shows that the policies and programs of local governments have consequences with respect to citizens’s political participation. It further shows that community policing and other, broader neighborhood empowerment efforts explicitly designed to foster citizen involvement in local public affairs actually diminish residents’ participation in neighborhood associations and their propensity to work on community projects. The chapter also discusses the emergence of a policy-centered or policy feedback approach; the limitations of policy-centered theory; and two reasons for applying policy-centered theory to the policies and programs of local governments: the first has to do with the need to test the range of the theory to get beyond the limitations outlined previously, the second points to the potential for the policy-centered approach to enrich our understanding of urban politics.

Keywords:   policy evaluation, local government, political participation, community policing, policy-centered theory

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