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Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy

The Bush School of Government and Public Service

Texas A&M University
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ISTPP Fellows Bullock and Bowman Explore Support of Food, Energy, Water Nexus

Drs. Bullock and Bowman recently published an article in Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy titled, “FEW: Exploring Citizens’ Support for Policy Tools at the Food, Energy, Water Nexus,” where they seek to understand public preferences on food, energy, water nexus policy actions, and the factors that go into such preferences.

They emphasize that limited research has been conducted on policy preferences related to food, energy, water (FEW) nexus issues jointly; most existing literature on the topic has treated food, energy, and water independently. Drs. Bullock and Bowman underscore the importance of gauging public preference on these issues from a nexus perspective rather than separately because of the reliance each resource has on one another.

The data used for this research was collected from a national survey completed by ISTPP that focused on FEW issues. The responses from over 1,200 respondents and was examined through both a descriptive and multivariate analysis of the responses. The results of these analyses suggest that factors – such as a respondent’s age, sex, household income, education, and political party affiliation play a significant role in policy tool preferences. Another significant finding is that respondents with more technical knowledge of nexus issues are more supportive of implementing various policy tools intended to address such issues.

Drs. Bullock and Bowman conclude their article by recommending that future public surveys of nexus issues explore the variables that influence opinions as well as the policy preferences of respondents to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of policy preferences. They also mention that the results can provide policymakers routes for improving the efficiency of food, energy, and water management, and that policymakers or scientists can increase public support for nexus policies by effectively educating the public on nexus issues and the implications of poor resource management on the environment.

Bullock, Justin B., and Ann O’M Bowman. 2017. “FEW: Exploring Citizens’ Support for Policy Tools at the Food, Energy, Water Nexus.” Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy 37(1): 148–154. DOI: 10.1002/ep.12727