Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: What Determines the Self-Assessed Knowledge of Policy Elites? the Role of Affective Evaluations and Cultural Value Predispositions

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 9:30 AM
President's Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Creed Tumlison, Rachael Moyer and Geoboo Song, University of Arkansas
Recently, there has been a controversial policy debate within the burgeoning policy subsystem concerning the installation of high voltage power lines (HVPLs) in Northwest Arkansas and South Missouri, particularly in the regions under direct impact. While proponents argue that such an installation is inevitable to efficiently and reliably support the identified electric load for the area, opponents claim that such a practice will degrade the natural environment and hamper the tourism-based local economy in affected regions, notably Ozark mountain areas. Of particular interest is to understand how local policy elites self-assess their issue-based knowledge – especially as it compares to their objective knowledge on the issue – which is critical for understanding the formation and changes of related government policies. Based upon the dual processing model of decision making, this study examines the interactions between more profound personal value predispositions, and affects and feelings, and the role these constructs play in developing perceived knowledge levels related to HVPL installations among local policy elites in Northwest Arkansas and South Missouri. In doing so, we analyze original data collected from a statewide Internet survey with local leaders and key policymakers about their opinions on the related issues, while considering other factors claimed by previous risk perception literature, including trust, knowledge level, and demographics. Preliminary findings indicate that affective evaluations and cultural value predispositions interact to predict perceived knowledge. These results hold when objective knowledge is controlled. Implications for policy-making and the policy-making process due to the resulting levels of hubris are discussed.

Full Paper: