Christopher J. Bosso

Northeastern University
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

310 Renaissance Park
Northeastern University
Boston, MA
02115 |  Visit Personal Website

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My current research work is in food systems and public policy, environmental policy, and the governance of emerging technologies. In recent years I have been principal investigator on a National Science Foundation funded project, “Nanotechnology in the Public Interest” (SES #0609078) and co-principal investigator on NSF project “Designing and Integrating Life Cycle Assessment Methods for Nanomanufacturing Scale-up,” (SNM-1120329), through which I conducted research on regulatory and environmental dimensions of nanotechnology and related emerging technologies. Recent publications include an edited volume, Governing Uncertainty: Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology (Resources for the Future / Earthscan Press, 2010), and Environment, Inc.: From Grassroots to Beltway (University Press of Kansas, 2005), which received the 2006 Caldwell Award for best book in environmental policy and politics from the American Political Science Association. My latest books include Framing the Farm Bill: Interests, Ideology, and the Agricultural Act of 2014 (University Press of Kansas) and an edited volume, Feeding Cities: Improving Local Food Access, Sustainability, and Resilience (Rutledge).

W. Walker, C. Bosso, M. Eckelman, J. Isaacs, L. Pourzahedi, “Integrating Life Cycle Assessment into Managing Potential EHS Risks of Engineered Nanomaterials: Reviewing Progress to Date.” Journal of Nanoparticle Research v. 17, n. 8 (August).
Abstract: The 2011 National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Environmental Health and Safety Research Strategy stressed the need for research to integrate life cycle considerations into risk management and, then, to better integrate risk assessment into decision-making on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) dimensions of nanomanufacturing. This paper reviews scholarly articles published 2010–2015 that in some way apply life cycle analysis to nanotechnology to assess the extent to which current research reflects the priorities lain out in the NNI report. As the NNI’s focus was primarily on the ‘‘responsible development of nanotechnology’’ we also focus our examination on the ways in which LCA, in concert with other methodologies, can provide utility to decision makers facing the challenge of implementing that broad goal. We explore some of the challenges and opportunities inherent in using LCA, a tool built to optimize manufacturing decisions, as a guide for policy formulation or tool for policy implementation.
DOI: 10.1007/s11051-015-3151-x
C. Bosso, R. A. DeLeo, and W. D. Kay. 2011. “Reinventing Oversight in the 21st Century: The Question of Capacity,” Journal of Nanoparticle Research v. 13, n. 4 (February): 1435-1448.
Abstract: This article addresses a key question emerging from this project: the fundamental capacity of government to engage in “dynamic oversight.” The goals expressed in this conception of oversight will require additional or new types of capacity for government agencies that ultimately must arbitrate conflicts and endow any outcomes with necessary democratic legitimacy. Rethinking oversight thus also requires consideration of the fundamental design and organizational capacity of the regulatory regime in the democratic state.
DOI: 10.1007/s11051-011-0232-3
J. Nash and C. Bosso. 2013. “Extended Producer Responsibility in the U.S.: Full Speed Ahead?” Journal of Industrial Ecology, v. 17, n. 2 (April): 175-185.
Abstract: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach that requires manufacturers to finance the costs of recycling or safely disposing of products consumers no longer want. This article describes the evolution of EPR policies in the United States, focusing on the role of states as policy actors. For their part, federal lawmakers have not embraced EPR policies except to remove some barriers to state-level initiatives. In the two-decade period from 1991-2011, US states enacted more than 70 EPR laws. In addition, manufacturers have implemented voluntary programs to collect and recycle products, but those efforts have proven largely ineffective in capturing significant quantities of waste products. With the help of new coalitions of diverse interest groups, recently states have renewed efforts to establish effective EPR programs, enacting 40 laws in the period 2008-2011. Several state initiatives suggest a more promising future for EPR.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00572.x.
C. Bosso and N. Tichenor, 2015. “Eating and the Environment: Ecological Implications of Food Production,” in Environmental Policy: New Directions for the 21st Century, 9th ed., N. Vig and M. Kraft, eds., CQ Press, 194-214.
C. Bosso. 2013. “The Enduring Embrace: The Regulatory Ancien Régime and Governance of Nanomaterials in the U.S.,” Nanotechnology Law & Business, 9, 4 (June): 381-392.
Abstract: In the United States, a new generation of manufactured nanomaterials will soon emerge, to be addressed by an environmental regulatory framework created decades previous in response to earlier generations of chemical technologies. That regulatory ancien régime of decades-old statutes, long-standing bureaucratic rules and routines, narrowly configured judicial decisions, and embedded institutional norms endures, even with its inadequacies, because relevant political actors are unable, even unwilling, to make changes in the absence of a perceived crisis. As a result, the continued embrace of the ancien régime on current policy discourse will powerfully shape how we define and address the relative benefits and risks of a new generation of nanomaterials and applications.
Guber, Deborah, and Christopher Bosso. 2009. "Past the Tipping Point? Public Discourse and the Role of the Environmental Movement in a Post-Bush Era." In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the 21st Century, 7th ed., eds. Norman Vig and Michael Kraft. CQ Press, p. 51-74.
Bosso, Christopher. 2010. Governing Uncertainty: Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future / Earthscan Press.

Substantive Focus:
Energy and Natural Resource Policy PRIMARY
Environmental Policy SECONDARY
Science and Technology Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy History
Policy Process Theory SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY