Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluation at EPA: Determinants of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Capacity to Supply Program Evaluation
by Hart, Nicholas R., Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2016, 517; 10149373
Abstract (Summary)

Since the inception of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), considerable emphasis has been placed on the use of prospective policy analysis tools that aim to inform environmental decisions, including cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment. However, compared to the prevalence of ex ante analysis at the EPA to inform decisions, relatively little evaluation of these same environmental policies is conducted after implementation, to inform future policy development or to modify existing policies.

This dissertation applied accountability, organizational learning, evaluation capacity, and institutionalism literature in consideration of processes and determinants that affect evaluation supply at the EPA. The dissertation relied on archival documents, semi-structured interviews, and three embedded case studies of EPA’s ambient air, hazardous waste, and performance partnership programs. Ten key factors were identified across the three case studies in this research that affect EPA's production of program evaluation to inform decision-making, and a new emergent model of evaluation capacity was proposed for EPA given the agency's regulatory structure. This research concludes that evaluation has much to offer EPA decision-makers, and efforts to improve evaluation capacity will present organizational learning opportunities that can further support the agency's evidence-building practices, specifically improving the application and use of program evaluation at EPA.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Newcomer, Kathryn E.
Commitee: Dudley, Susan E., Konisky, David M., Linquiti, Peter D., Wholey, Joseph S.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Public Policy and Public Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration, Public policy, Environmental science
Keywords: EPA, Environmental policy, Environmental protection agency, Evaluation capacity, Policy analysis, Program evaluation
Publication Number: 10149373
ISBN: 978-1-369-04491-1
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