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I am co-director of the CEPB. Much of my work investigates the conditions under which scientific knowledge is integrated into the public policy process. I examine how decision-makers obtain, interpret, and apply scientific knowledge to real-world environmental policy problems. I pay particular attention to the decisions of ground-level government officials whose day-to-day work shapes policy, analyzing how their institutional contexts affect their information and choice opportunities. Much of my current work focuses on the regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking); I am also interested in wetland and water policy. I use a variety of methods in my work, including surveys, interviews, social network analysis, and statistical analysis.
My research focuses on human behavior and the role of governance institutions in solving collective action problems and facilitating cooperation. The collective action problems associated with environmental policy provide a laboratory for my research. My current projects include watershed management, environmental activism, agricultural best management practices, and institutional change in local governments. I also dabble in experimental economics and simulation techniques to further explore collective action theory. See a recent talk at Yale here: http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/lubell/Professional/LubellYale.mov
Research Statement: Cooperation and Natural Resource Management
I study collective-action problems in theory, lab, and field settings using quantitative and qualitative empirical methods. Collective-action problems occur when individuals make self-interested decisions that produce socially undesirable outcomes. People encounter collective-action problems on a daily basis. For example, many people are familiar with the difficulties of encouraging people to cooperate to clean a house or apartment. Or maybe you have tried to organize a sports team or other group activity, and discovered that some people will enjoy the benefits of the group without contributing any time or effort. Collective-action problems occur when everyone is willing to free ride, and therefore nothing is accomplished.