Events & Media: Priya Verma PhD Defense

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


A PhD Dissertation Defense

Priya Verma

Friday, May 27, 2011
1:30 PM
Bren Hall Pine Room (3526)

"Linking Policy Process to Environmental Impact
in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program:
A Comparative Case Study Analysis of the Science-Policy Interface."

Faculty Advisors: Oran Young, Patricia Holden, John Foran


The utilization of scientific information in the policy process depends in large part on institutional and organizational factors. To improve the integration of science in policy to solve environmental problems, a better understanding is needed of how different organizational arrangements actually work, and what makes one type perform differently than another. Given the time and other resources increasingly devoted to supporting increased stakeholder participation in environmental policy decisions where scientists play a prominent role, a greater focus on the effectiveness of such processes is needed.

To examine the institutional and organizational arrangements mediating the science-policy interaction, this research is based on a comparative case study analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuaries Program (NEP). Charles Ragin’s Fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) framework is applied to study the link between indicators of environmental impacts to the institutional and organizational arrangements connecting scientists to policy makers. This research constitutes the first of its kind to link indicators of environmental impacts to the institutional design and organizational factors connecting scientists to policy makers. No one factor explains the success or failure of the environmental institutions developed across the NEP cases studied. Instead, causal factors interact in specific ways to produce the various configurations observed. Using the Fuzzy-set QCA method, this research builds a conceptual framework that can be used to guide future studies of the various strategies used to integrate scientific information into the policy-making process.