In this project the research team will examine how intergovernmental grants shape agents' preferences so that the agents' choices will be influenced beyond the lifespan of a grant program. In particular, the project focuses on how federal grants may shape the preferences of local governments. The work is based on an "informed principals-learning agents" (IP-LA) framework which argues that the information, shared risk, and policy learning produced through grant application and implementation alter the preferences and goals of agents so that the desired behaviors should persist. In this model, preferences are endogenous to strategy, which contrasts with most principal-agent models that assume fixed preferences. The research will analyze the impact of energy efficiency and conservation grants on the energy program and sustainability preferences of local governments and whether municipalities continue existing programs, alter or reconfigure programs, or discontinue them after federal funds have been exhausted.
In terms of broader impacts, this work addresses practical policy issues involved in the design and implementation of intergovernmental programs, especially targeted one-shot grants. The outcomes of this research can inform policy designs and implementation strategies, especially in new or rapidly expanding policy arenas such local energy/climate policy.