Panel: Policy Dynamics Governing the U.S. Energy Sector: New Insights from Comparative Research
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Friday, November 8, 2019: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Plaza Building: Lobby Level, Director's Row J (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Tanya Heikkila, University of Colorado, Denver
Panel Chair:  Elizabeth Baldwin, University of Arizona

Energy producers and markets are undergoing critical transitions to balance new demands, calls for greener fuels, and mitigation of climate change. Within the U.S. federalist system, the policies that influence how energy is produced and how changing energy demands are met are established by various sub-national governments and diverse policy venues. These contexts are in turn structured by different political, institutional, economic, biophysical, and social conditions, which can further influence the design of energy policy outputs, the interactions of actors within the policy system, and the outcomes that result from implementing energy policies. Understanding these dynamics, how they compare across policy settings, and what outcomes they produce can provide valuable insights on how U.S. policy processes are responding to and shaping the changing energy landscape.


This panel will examine the complex energy policy dynamics that arise in the U.S. federalist system from a comparative lens. The first paper by Baldwin considers the dynamics of policy actors and policy outcomes across interrelated energy policy forums. Specifically, it explores how competitive, coercive, and cooperative approaches to policy in one policy forum shape policy interactions and outputs in overlapping and adjacent policy forums. The second paper by Weible et al. considers how legislative policy decisions focused on shale oil and gas development are related to indicators of policy conflict and concord across 15 U.S. states over a ten year time frame. The third paper by Liao, examines how state level factors influence climate change actions by local governments, focusing on plan making, policy adoption, and regional collaboration. The fourth paper by Stephan, Daley, and Abel analyzes the role of policy tools and policy portfolio diversity focused on greenhouse gas emissions to assess how different policy approaches reduce emissions.


In exploring these different questions on energy policy dynamics, the authors and participants on this panel represent diverse disciplines and expertise. The papers also represent a balance of senior, junior, and student scholars who bring novel theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of energy policy. In particular, each of the papers uses original datasets that have been collected as part of the broader research efforts of the individual paper authors to build and enhance knowledge of sub-national energy policies. The papers also employ a range of theories – from the Ecology of Games Framework, the Policy Conflict Framework, and Institutional Analysis and Development Framework – which have not been employed extensively in the energy policy domain. Collectively, the papers will not only enhance our understanding of the contextual features that drive policy processes and policy outcomes from a comparative angle but also extend theoretical and methodological insights from the broader policy literature to the energy policy domain.

When Do Sparks Fly? Examining State-Level Policy Decisions and Conflict Around Shale Oil and Gas
Christopher Weible1, Tanya Heikkila1, Federico Holm2, Ramiro Berardo2 and Hongtao Yi2, (1)University of Colorado, Denver, (2)The Ohio State University

Policies, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Power Plants: Do Policy Choices Help to Explain Variations across Carbon Dioxide and Methane Emissions?
Mark Stephan, Washington State University, Vancouver, Dorothy Daley, University of Kansas and Troy Abel, Western Washington University