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An Approach for Analyzing Policy Processes: Case Study on Fracking


Mar 21, 2016 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Columbia University, Low Library, Faculty Room, Room 207

Many approaches currently exist for evaluating public policies, but there are relatively few approaches for evaluating policy processes. In this talk, Tanya Heikkila will introduce an approach for diagnosing contentious policy processes, by measuring the intensity, sources, and impacts of policy debates. This approach is illustrated through questionnaire data collected in the spring of 2015 of policy actors politically involved in hydraulic fracturing debates in Colorado. The data show moderately intense political debate marked by polarization of positions, perceived threats, unwillingness to compromise, and demonization of opponents. The sources of the conflict include an entrenchment of positions, distinct network relations, and divergent sources of knowledge. At the same time, the existence of brokers, shared priorities, and the high network centrality of some government organizations suggest opportunities for mitigating the conflict. The outcomes of the conflict appear to be getting worse over time and are often divided, based on normative positions about expanding or contracting hydraulic fracturing. Heikkila will conclude with a research agenda for diagnosing contentious policy processes and helping inform policy processes toward sustainable politics.

This event is open to the public. Registration is required for this event and photo ID is required for admission to this event.


Introduction: Steve Cohen, Executive Director, The Earth Institute; Professor of Practice, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Speaker: Tanya Heikkila, Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, Denver