Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


in the Envrionmental Institutions Series

"Information and Uncertainty in Regulatory Processes:
Evidence from Pesticide Regulation"

Andrew Whitford
Professor of Public Administration and Policy
School of Public and International Affairs
University of Georgia

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1424

"The first in our series of speakers introducing us to good work on environmental institutions, Andy is a great example of someone studying environmental bureaucracies in a rigorous, empirical way. Andy offers us a chance to understand how the EPA uses scientific information to manage risk, even as they also take into account political factors in regulating pesticides." — Sarah Anderson, speaker host

Agencies must simultaneously weigh technical information along with the political and distributive consequences of their decisions. In a study of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s implementation of federal pesticide policy, I show that the EPA accounts for both risk and constituency factors. I model the sequence of steps in the decision process to show the effects of both uncertainty and information in the EPA’s decisions. This is accomplished by estimating a competing risks model of the timing of the agency’s decisions.

Andrew Whitford writes broadly on topics in public management and policy design. His previous book, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda: Constructing the War on Drugs, written with Jeff Yates of Binghamton University, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009. His next book, written with Gary J. Miller of Washington University in St. Louis, will be Above Politics: Bureaucratic Discretion and Credible Commitment. His papers on the Social Science Research Network have been downloaded more than 5,000 times.

Professor Whitford's public-management research concentrates on organization theory, models of decision making and adaptation, and accountability in the bureaucracy. His interests in public policy include environmental, regulation, and public health policy. He has extensive experience in the use of statistical, simulation, and experimental methods for understanding organizational behavior and individual choice. He has twice been named “Professor of the Year” by the MPA students at the University of Georgia .

His previous service in government includes work with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and consultation with the U.S. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

Research colloquia are hosted by Bren faculty members and are generally high-level talks about research in a particular area of environmental science and management.


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