Date of Graduation

12-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Dynamics (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Geoboo Song

Committee Member

Jon Johnson

Second Committee Member

William McComas

Third Committee Member

Kim LaScola Needy

Fourth Committee Member

Steve Boss

Keywords

Social sciences; Cultural theory; Energy efficiency; Energy policy; Renewable energy; Survey research; Sustainable energy

Abstract

The local policy arena is ripe for research on policy elite decisionmaking because where policy diffusion is concerned, previous studies focus on state-to-state and city-to-city dynamics. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity to expand understanding about the adoption of policies and policy diffusion at the local level. Identification of individual level determinants that signify policy adoption is a cornerstone to fostering this knowledge. This study examines such preference indicators found among policy elites in select Arkansas cities. For this research, the primary theoretical perspective for evaluating individual determinants is cultural theory, which has shown strong correlation to individual policy preference formation in previous studies. The primary policy focus is on sustainable energy policies in Arkansas. In order to properly understand how and why local policy elites decide to adopt, or not to adopt, certain energy policies providing sustainable options to Arkansas cities, this study analyzed original data collected from a statewide Internet survey with policy elites in Arkansas (e.g. mayors, city managers, city council representatives, chamber of commerce members). The results of the Social research display potential connections between policy elite preferences and aligned sustainable energy policy development.

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