Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining the role of resources, beliefs, and behavior in the policy process: A study of Colorado climate and energy politics and policy
by Elgin, Dallas J., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2014, 271; 3667223
Abstract (Summary)

As they strive to influence the selection and adoption of public policies, the individuals most active within a given policy area ("policy actors") display a variety of behaviors. These behaviors include utilizing policy-related information, engaging in political activities, and interacting with other actors to realize their policy goals. Beliefs and resources offer two different rationales for explaining policy actor behavior. To influence policy, actors utilize resources in an attempt to sway decision makers, influence public opinion, recruit allies, or attract additional resources. Beliefs are considered to be a primary factor affecting behavior, with actors seeking out others with similar beliefs and then sharing resources and engaging in political activities to realize their policy preferences. This dissertation utilizes three theoretical frameworks, the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), Resource Dependence Theory (RDT), and Policy Analytical Capacity (PAC), to develop an improved understanding of the comparative effects of resources and beliefs on behavior. These frameworks are used as theoretical lenses to conduct a detailed study of the Colorado climate and energy policy subsystem. This dissertation offers a collection of contributions to the existing policy process literature. Methodological contributions include a new approach for understanding political landscapes that places a greater focus on the role of resources and political activities, and a collection of best practices for using hyperlink networks to study policy actors online. In addition, the dissertation provides important theoretical contributions to the three theoretical frameworks. Contributions to the ACF include developing the framework's theory about the interactions and effects of resources, extreme beliefs, and political activities. Contributions to PAC include relating capacity to political activities, while contributions to the RDT framework include relating organizational resource dependence to friend and foe interactions. Finally, this dissertation furthers the collective knowledge on climate politics and policy by expanding our understanding of the beliefs, policy preferences, information sources, political activities, and the interactions of climate policy supporters and opponents.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weible, Christopher M.
Commitee: Heikkila, Tanya, Howlett, Michael, Teske, Paul
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Public Affairs
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Climate Change, Public policy, Energy
Keywords: Advocacy coalition framework, Climate change, Energy policy, Policy beliefs, Policy process, Public policy
Publication Number: 3667223
ISBN: 978-1-321-41183-6
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