I worked with M. Teodoro, a political science teacher at Colgate University, to determine if there was research being conducted on professional mobility in relation to water rates.
Professor Teodoro went on to write an article on professional policy networks. His abstract states that these networks are widely recognized as important sources of environmental policy innovation. His paper argues that environmental policies are most likely to diffuse from professions to governments under conditions of bureaucratic job mobility. When an agency head arrives from outside the government he serves, she carries both a reputation and mandate for professional innovation. The incentives for innovation are less potent when an agency head is promoted from within. The result is mobility-contingent professionalism, for the priorities of an administrator’s profession are more likely to become manifest in policy when she arrives from outside than when she is promoted from within an agency. Using data from an original survey of water utility executives, his paper analyzes the effect of career path and professional involvement on utilities’ adoption of conservation-oriented water rate structures. He finds that executive career path is a strong predictor of an agency’s adoption of conservation rates, even after accounting for climatic conditions. Further, the effect of professional involvement is contingent on career path: professionalism is strongly associated with adoption of conservation rates for diagonally mobile executives, but not for executives promoted from within. These findings highlight the role of bureaucratic policy entrepreneurs in the diffusion of a contentious environmental conservation policy, and the contingent nature of professionalism in bureaucratic politics.