Environmental Injustice in the United States: Myths and Realities

By James P. Lester; David W. Allen et al. | Go to book overview
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8
Summary and Conclusions from the Multilevel Analyses

In this chapter, we review the findings for Chapters 5-7 as they address the question posed at the beginning of the book: When other explanations are taken into account, does race, class, and political mobilization matter with regard to the severity of environmental harms? To aid the reader in keeping track of the results from these chapters, Figure 8.1 arrays the findings for the various race, class, and mobilization measures at the state, county, and city levels. Once again, to simplify the reader's task, the reported results focus only on the reduced equations in the state, county, and city analyses.


Summary of Race, Class, and Political-Mobilization Findings

Political Mobilization

The most consistently null findings from the multilevel analysis indicates that there was either no relationship between political mobilization and environmental harms or that the relationship was opposite to the initial hypothesis for thirteen out of the fourteen dependent variables studied. This finding stands in stark contrast to the idea that politically mobilized communities capture the attention of decisionmakers and, thus, increased political mobilization has the effect of minimizing environmental harms. Indeed, some previous studies had included this concept ( Allen, 2001; Allen, Lester, and Hill, 1995; Crews-Meyer, 1994; Hird, 1993, 1994; Hird and Reese, 1998; Hamilton, 1993, 1995; Lester, Allen, and Lauer, 1994; Lester and Allen, 1996; Ringquist, 1995, 1996, 1997); however, only a few studies had confirmed that political mobilization reduced the level of environmental hazards in a community ( Hamilton, 1993, 1995; Lester, Allen, and Lauer, 1994).

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