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Does Location Matter? Public Acceptance of Restrictive Policy Measures at the Local Level

Silje H. Tørnblad, Hege Westskog, Larry Rose

This article explores the significance of local contexts as a factor relevant for understanding public acceptance of restrictive policy measures intended to reduce environmental problems associated with the use of private cars. The article presents a comparative case study based on two Norwegian municipalities drawing on both qualitative and quantitative materials. Findings from the quantitative analysis show that the local context matters for public acceptance of our selection of restrictive policy measures even after controlling for individual socio-demographic characteristics and attitudes which have been documented to be of importance in earlier studies. Three considerations which, on the basis of qualitative materials, appear to be important for understanding the local context are strategies for municipal development, local identity and crisis understanding. These findings point to the fact that there may be a lack of transferability between general findings in the literature on public acceptance for restrictive policy measures and what is feasible and indeed recommendable at the local level.

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