Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigating the relationship between the policy implementation process and the utilization of information technology in a constitutional republic: The case of I-269 NEPA process
by Holland, Joseph Hampton, Ph.D., Mississippi State University, 2010, 237; 3398573
Abstract (Summary)

Information technologies (IT) have provided significant benefits for society. By drawing on the assumptions of the New Public Management (NPM) framework, the author investigates how, in one case, IT alters the policy implementation process. Additionally, the author tests reinforcement theory, sociotechnical theory, and technological determinism to determine which IT model best explains the utilization of IT at the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

This study examines the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. By conducting interviews, analyzing documents, and examining a physical artifact, the author explores the administration of an economic impact analysis (EIA) that was conducted on the I-269 corridor.

Using a quasi-experimental design, the author compared a control EIA with a test EIA that utilized the Regional Economic Modeling Inc. (REMI) software to determine how IT altered the EIA, which is required through NEPA. The control EIA process was conducted by MDOT, and the test EIA was administered by a research team from Mississippi State University (MSU).

In this case, the author found that the utilization of IT altered the test EIA. First, the REMI model provided a broader scope and provided more variables and outputs for analysts to observe. Second, the utilization of REMI reduced the time associated with the data collection and analysis of the I-269 corridor.

Finally, the author found that the projected economic impacts changed direction. In other words, instead of the construction of I-269 positively affecting the community, region, or state, the REMI model indicated that the construction of the corridor would negatively impact the surrounding areas. Finally, by tracing the utilization of REMI at MDOT, the author determined that reinforcement theory explained the initial adoption and utilization of IT. However, the author discovered the REMI model was not utilized in all EIAs. This finding highlights that MDOT has the discretionary power to adjust the methods utilized to investigate the economic impacts associated with highway projects. Therefore, while NPM promotes the utilization of IT for agencies to achieve objectives and transform bureaucracies, the research highlights a tentative critique of the NPM framework.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stich, Bethany, Goodman, Doug
Commitee: Emison, Gerald, Stanisevski, Dragan
School: Mississippi State University
Department: Political Science and Public Administration
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration, Environmental science
Keywords: Economic impact analysis, NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act, Public administration, Transportation policy
Publication Number: 3398573
ISBN: 978-1-109-71842-3
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