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Fields of Study: Public Policy; Natural Resources
Committee: Adam Henry (Chair), Gary Pivo, Laura Bakkensen
Dissertation: Identifying Beliefs in Urban Water Policy
This dissertation presents a data infrastructure of beliefs reflected in urban water policy. Empirical research grounded in the Advocacy Coalition Framework stands to gain traction from a systematic conceptualization of belief systems. An infrastructure also offers researchers a tool to examine why some policy decisions for water-scarce cities are not informed by scientific evidence. Drawing inspiration from relevant theories and measures of beliefs, the dissertation first uses a structural equation model to test the relationship between stakeholders’ reported worldviews and water policy perceptions. This offers insight on how ontological and normative worldviews shape beliefs relating to water policy. To test the effect of policy beliefs on behavior, social scientists often rely on survey techniques, but this method is not always viable. Following the notion that policy-related beliefs are embodied in public policies, a data infrastructure can guide content analysis of adopted water practices as a proxy for survey techniques. To develop this tool, the second and third parts of the dissertation use statistical models for social networks to test how well reported beliefs are reflected in policy actions of water governance networks. Significant relationships will comprise the data infrastructure, and future work will extend this guide to other policy domains.