DECISION MAKING for the ENVIRONMENT
Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities
Garry D. Brewer and Paul C. Stern, editors
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. X-83060501 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Decision making for the environment : social and behavioral science research priorities / Panel on Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities for Environmental Decision Making, Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change [and] Center for Governance, Economics, and International Studies, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education ; Garry D. Brewer and Paul C. Stern, editors.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-309-09540-9 (pbk.)—ISBN 0-309-54772-5 (pdf) 1. Environmental policy—Decision making. 2. Environmental policy—Research. 3. Research—Environmental aspects. I. Brewer, Garry D. II. Stern, Paul C., 1944- III. National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities for Environmental Decision Making. IV. National Research Council (U.S.). Center for Governance, Economics, and International Studies.
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Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2005). Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities. Panel on Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities for Environmental Decision Making. G.D. Brewer and P.C. Stern, editors. Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
PANEL ON SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE RESEARCH PRIORITIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DECISION MAKING
Garry D. Brewer (Chair),
School of Management, Yale University
Braden R. Allenby,
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, Arizona State University
Richard N. Andrews,
Institute for Environmental Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Susan L. Cutter,
Department of Geography, University of South Carolina
J. Clarence Davies,
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
College of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University
Bonnie J. McCay,
Department of Human Ecology, Cook College of Rutgers University
School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
Regulatory Policy Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Steven W. Percy,
University of Michigan Business School, Ann Arbor
Department of Geography, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Department of Human Ecology, Cook College of Rutgers University
Paul C. Stern, Study Director
Deborah Johnson, Senior Project Assistant
COMMITTEE ON THE HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF GLOBAL CHANGE
Thomas J. Wilbanks (Chair),
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Carolina Population Center and Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Department of Economics, Brown University
Department of Geography, Clark University
Edward L. Miles,
School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington
Edward A. Parson,
University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor
Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, Ohio State University
Peter J. Richerson,
Division of Environmental Studies, University of California, Davis
Natural Resource and Environmental Policy, Washington State University
Climate Impacts Group, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Brooklyn, NY
Stephen H. Schneider,
Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University
Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Oran R. Young (ex officio),
University of California, Santa Barbara
Paul C. Stern, Study Director
Deborah Johnson, Senior Program Assistant
With the growing number, complexity, and importance of environmental problems come demands to include a full range of intellectual disciplines and scholarly traditions to help define and eventually manage such problems more effectively. In the best sense of including talent, insight, and skill from many different places, the National Research Council (NRC) was requested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation to help set research priorities for the social and behavioral sciences as these relate to several different kinds of environmental problems. The task was to think broadly and systematically so as to identify a manageable number of promising research questions, the answers to which we believe will contribute to improved environmental decision making. We were specifically cautioned not to promote existing or well-represented and understood research agenda and priorities. Our job was to discover promising new questions and lines of inquiry. Likewise we were asked not to emphasize the field and discipline of economics, mainly on the grounds that it too is well represented and understood in the general environmental realm.
Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities is the result of a 2-year effort by 12 social and behavioral scientists, scholars, and practitioners. Together they represent a wide range of fields and disciplines, including anthropology, decision science, environmental studies, geography, human ecology, management, planning, policy analysis, political science, psychology, resource management, sociology, and urban studies. In addition, the panel benefited from the contributions of dozens of other scientists, scholars, and practitioners from these
and other fields, who submitted ideas for our consideration, summarized knowledge in several areas of research, and wrote or reviewed background papers for the study, five of which appear as appendixes to this report.
In making its recommendations the panel met three times in the course of the two-year project, consulted a wide array of professional and disciplinary organizations for suggestions and opinions, and commissioned several papers that pursued in more detail matters of particular interest and relevance to the project.
The panel was ably assisted by the NRC’s program officer, Paul Stern, who also participated as a fully vested scholar-member of the panel, based on his long association with the social and behavioral sciences as these relate and apply to environmental issues and problems. Logistical, managerial, and administrative support were well and cheerfully supplied by Deborah Johnson of the NRC’s Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: William C. Clark, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Howard Kunreuther, Risk Management and Decision Resources Center, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; D. Warner North, NorthWorks, Inc., Belmont, California; Ortwin Renn, Chair of Environmental Sociology, University of Stuttgart, Germany; Nigel Roome, Faculty of Social Science, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Elke U. Weber, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Edward A. Parson, University of Michigan Law School. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution.
We also wish to thank the following individuals for their review of papers that appear as appendixes of this report: William Freudenburg, University of California, Santa Barbara; Rejean Landry, Laval University; Elke U. Weber, Columbia University; Michael DeKay, Carnegie Mellon University; Asseem Prakash, University of Washington; Clinton Andrews, Rutgers University; Radford Byerly, University of Colorado; Roger Pielke, Jr., University of Colorado; Kathryn Harrison, University of British Columbia; and Richard Morgenstern, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC.
The panel is well aware of the limitations of so-called priority-setting exercises, such as the one we just completed. There is no way to be totally comprehensive, for there are simply too many combinations of fields, disciplines, specialties, and problem types for any small group such as this panel to cover thoroughly. Nonetheless, we made strong efforts to reach out and to consult with a wide and diverse a group of professionals and organizations. There is no way to identify and then promote all worthy research possibilities. Indeed, the sponsoring agents for this project were very clear in their charge to consider and focus on a manageable few topics—but to justify these choices in a clear and rational manner so that anyone would be able to appreciate why we decided as we did. Here we have been most diligent, as I trust the reader will agree very soon after beginning to read our report.
If some of our recommendations gain the attention we believe they warrant and in time secure sufficient research support to answer the questions posed, then our collective efforts on this panel will have been well worth the time, effort, and energy put into this project.
Garry D. Brewer, Chair
Panel on Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities for Environmental Decision Making
WHEN DO ENVIRONMENTAL DECISION MAKERS USE SOCIAL SCIENCE?
IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL DECISION PROCESSES
PROGRAM EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES: TOWARD EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION MAKING