Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy Team Presents Research at SPSA Annual Conference

January 14, 2018

Research by members of the ISTPP team, Drs. Portney, Hannibal, and Liu, was presented at the annual Southern Political Science Association Conference held in New Orleans, LA, January 4-6, 2018.

Director Portney presented a paper, coauthored with Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Hannibal, entitled “Urban Governance and Sustainability through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Evidence from the San Antonio Area Case Study.” They investigate the extent to which decision makers responsible for setting policy and management for water resources interact with agencies and organizations involved in energy and food decisions. They found that little interaction among such organizations occurs, indicating that governance of these resources is segregated by issue domain, even though use of these resources is connected such that using one tends to deplete one or both of the others. Further study is needed to ascertain ways to build connections across the governance processes for these resources so policy and management choices consider effects on the nexus as a whole.

Professors Bowman and Portney presented their research, coauthored with Dr. Jeffrey Berry of Tufts University, titled, “Multilevel Governance in Designing and Managing City Sustainability Policies.” Multilevel governance has drawn attention as a potentially effective means to address public issues that inherently cross jurisdictional and administrative boundaries, such as the environment, climate change, and sustainability. The authors employ several measures of multilevel governance based on frequency of interactions and contact as well as joint policy deliberations and show that there is significant variation across cities. They then combine these measures with data (gathered from a survey of city administrators) on the degree of sustainability policies for the fifty largest US cities. They find strong evidence that multilevel governance has little effect on the adoption and implementation of sustainability policies and programs. Indeed, having so many governance actors involved may introduce barriers to pro-environmental policies.

Research Scientist and Assistant Director, Dr. Xinsheng Liu, and coauthor Dr. Huang from UC-Merced presented their paper “Historical Knowledge and National Identity in China.” This paper used data from the China Governance and Public Policy Survey to examine the relationship between individual Chinese citizens’ perceptions of their nation’s historical achievements and the strength of their national identity (including patriotism and nationalism). The authors find that significantly more Chinese citizens overestimate than underestimate China’s historical achievements, and those who overestimate the achievements of ancient Chinese civilization exhibit higher levels of national identity. To an even greater degree, however, citizens who underestimate Chinese historical achievements report lower levels of national identity. They also find that temporary corrections of misinformation on history and civilization do not have a significant effect on national identity. These findings shed light on the subtlety of an important source of national identity.

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