Elaine B. Sharp

University of Kansas
Political Science

1541 Lilac Lane
504 Blake Hall
Lawrence, KS
esharp@ku.edu |  Visit Personal Website

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My current research agenda is three-pronged. The first part involves exploration of the application a policy-centered, or policy feedback model of public policy to urban policy issues. This entails original research on the impact of urban public policies on empowerment/disempowerment of citizens who are the targets/clients of those programs as well as secondary analysis of the broad literature on urban policy and citizen participation. The second part involves a line of work on the politics of policing. The third involves collaborative research on cities and sustainability policy.

Sharp, Elaine B. 2012. Does Local Government Matter? How Urban Policies Shape Civic Engagement. University of Minnesota Press.
Abstract: The book applies policy feedback theory to urban government programs. Policy feedback theory calls our attention to the interpretive effects of programs as well as their resources effects, and leads to the expectation that means-tested programs will have a chilling effect on the political participation of program recipients, while by contrast universal programs mobilize program participants. These hypotheses are tested with respect to the social program spending of county governments, community oriented policing programs, neighborhood empowerment programs, and cities efforts to place accountability controls on subsidy programs for economic development.
Sharp, Elaine B., and Paul Johnson. 2009. "Accounting for Variation in Distrust of Local Police." Justice Quarterly 26 (1): 157-182.
Abstract: The paper tests a variety of explanations for variation in distrust of local police in the U.S. As with other attitudes toward the police, there is a substantial race gap in distrust of the police. Our analysis is based on citizen survey data from 33 cities and data on policing characteristics and the city context. It reveals that individual-level factors representative of a psychological model are of substantial importance in explaining variation in distrust of the police. City-level attributes tapping differences in police performance are also important predictors of distrust of the police, even once individual-level attributes are controlled; and there are important racial differences in the impact of these police performance variables as well, resulting in a largely full accounting of the initial race gap.
Sharp, Elaine B., with Dorothy Daley and Michael Lynch. 2011. “Understanding Local Adoption and Implementation of Climate Change Mitigation Policy,” Urban Affairs Review (May): 433-457.
Abstract: Increasingly, local governments are crafting policy to tackle climate change. This article examines why cities develop and implement climate change programs. The authors consider the impact of interest group pressure, political institutions, and problem severity on a city?s decision to develop and implement climate protection programs. Their results suggest that organized interests influence both adoption and implementation of climate mitigation programs. This effect, however, is contingent on political institutions. In general, organized interests are more effective in mayoral as opposed to city manager forms of governments. Interestingly, while financially strapped cities may adopt climate mitigation programs to advance cobenefits or cost savings, fiscal stress also impedes program implementation.

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy SECONDARY
Social Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Public Opinion