Policy Learning in the Context of State Energy Policy

Sanya Carley, Associate Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, will be the guest speaker.

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When (Date/Time)

February 17, 2017, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

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Light lunch provided


Public policy scholars have long established the importance of social interactions among policymakers in the policy adoption and diffusion process. As policymakers weigh their options and make complex policy decisions, they look to their peers for cues about policy design and possible outcomes, and often either imitate or emulate their peers in their eventual policy decisions. This presentation focuses on such policy information channels and policy learning in an application of U.S. state energy policy. It first tests existing theories about social influence to explain three distinct stages of the policy diffusion process for the renewable portfolio standard: policy adoption, reinvention, and amendment. It then seeks to expand the literature’s understanding of peer relationships based on a survey of state policymakers and agency officials. Survey data reveal insights about one-way versus two-way peer relationships, the context behind these relationships, and whether states are aware of their degree of influence over other states’ energy policy decisions. Finally, it tests the information gathered via the survey in an empirical study of renewable portfolio standards and electricity deregulation, and proves that this expanded notion of peer relationships is important to the study of energy policy adoption and diffusion.

Sanya Carley

Bio: Sanya Carley is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Policy Analysis and Public Finance faculty group at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. She also serves as a research member of the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy and BrainTrust member of IronOak Energy. Her research focuses on energy policy, including both electricity and transportation policy, and the effects, effectiveness, and unintended consequences of these policies. She also publishes research on energy-based economic development and public perceptions of emerging energy technologies. Dr. Carley has extensive consulting experience with the World Bank, RTI International, ARCeconomics, The Nicholas Institute, and the Environmental Protection Agency. She received her Ph.D. in public policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and bachelor’s degrees in economics and sustainable development from Swarthmore College.

This seminar is sponsored by the Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy Initiative, with support from the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

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