Panel: Analysis, Politics, and Policymaking: Lessons from the Glen Canyon Dam
(The Impacts of Politics on the Policy Process)

Saturday, November 8, 2014: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Navajo (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Deven Carlson, University of Oklahoma
Panel Chairs:  Robert Haveman, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Discussants:  David Weimer, University of Wisconsin – Madison

The Role of Contingent Valuation and Advocacy Coalitions in Political Decision-Making: The Case of Glen Canyon Dam
Clayton Palmer1, Joseph Ripberger2 and Kuhika Gupta2, (1)Western Area Power Administration, (2)University of Oklahoma

Multi-Dimensional Policy Effects, Uncertainty, and Contingent Valuation
Robert Berrens, University of New Mexico and Hank Jenkins-Smith, University of Oklahoma

All grounded in a single empirical setting, the three papers on this panel recognize and explore the potential feedback loop between policy analysis and the policymaking process, and politics more generally. That is, within the context of the long-running debate over operations of the Glen Canyon Dam, the papers proposed for this panel examine not only how policy analysis can inform and affect the policymaking process, but also how the political environment can affect the design and execution of policy analysis. In addition, it explores how analyses with different designs—or inclusion of additional dimensions—may have influenced the policy process. The first paper draws on a prominent theory of the policymaking process—the Advocacy Coalition Framework—to analyze the historic use of policy analysis, and benefit-cost analysis in particular, by stakeholders in the debate over Glen Canyon Dam operations. The paper first explores how institutional arrangements shaped the design and execution of analyses of Glen Canyon Dam operations, and then examines how the results of those analyses shaped the political debate and, ultimately, policy outcomes. The second paper examines how alternative analytic structures can generate different analytic results, which could potentially result in different policy decisions and outcomes. More specifically, again within the context of Glen Canyon Dam operations, the paper examines whether permitting respondents in contingent valuation studies to express a negative valuation of expected policy effects has the potential to meaningfully influence willingness-to-pay estimates. Finally, the third paper examines the role of scientific uncertainty in analyses that inform policy debates. In particular, the paper analyzes how the expression of uncertainty in the portrayal of the potential effects of a policy change can affect the valuations elicited from survey respondents in CV studies. Together, these papers provide insight across multiple dimensions into the relationship between policy analysis and the policymaking process.