Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

University of Oklahoma
Department of Political Science

Center for Energy, Security & Society
201 Stephenson Parkway, Suite 2300
Norman, OK
hjsmith@ou.edu |  Visit Personal Website

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Hank Jenkins-Smith studies theories of the public policy process. His substantive interests focus on risk and public policy, with particular emphasis on energy, environmental and security policies. His current research projects concern (a) the long-term dynamics of policy change across multiple subsystems; (b) the role of scientific and technical knowledge in policy change; and (c) the manner in which policy design affects public response to the siting of potentially hazardous facilities.

Benjamin Jones, Robert Berrens, Hank Jenkins-Smith, Carol Silva, Deven Carlson, Joseph Ripberger, Kuhika Gupta and Nina Carlson. 2016. “Valuation in the Anthropocene: Exploring Options for Alternative Operations of the Glen Canyon Dam.” Water Resources and Economics 14 (2016): 13-30.
Abstract: Amidst debates about what conservation and preservation mean for large coupled human and natural systems, survey-based non-market valuation approaches for eliciting non-use values also may confront the need for re-consideration. For example, proposed operational changes on highly-engineered river systems to implement environmental considerations (e.g., experimental flow regimes in a river stretch) may connect to social disruption and green-vs-green tradeoffs elsewhere in the larger connected system. Non-use value estimates for the same proposed operational changes may be sensitive to the presentation of multiple dimensions of effects in the coupled system, which may be perceived as either positive or negative by different population segments. Using an internet survey mode and a national sample, and essentially replicating a prominent prior contingent valuation study of non-use values (Welsh et al.,1995) [67] as the starting point, we illustrate such considerations within an exploratory setting involving operational changes altering both downstream environmental flows and hydroelectricity production from the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. We use a referendum-style voting format, and a set of split-sample information treatments including: (i) social disruption impacts to Native American and rural western communities that depend on hydroelectric production; and (ii) hypothetical increases in air pollution by switching to non-renewable fossil fuels in the electric power grid. Empirical results show respondents may make non-use value trade-offs, as preferences for or against operational changes are highly sensitive (e.g., reversing majority support) to information about additional value dimensions, beyond downstream environmental flow impacts.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wre.2016.02.003
Kahan, Dan M. and Jenkins-Smith, Hank C. and Tarantola, Tor and Silva, Carol L and Braman, Donald. 2014. "Geoengineering and Climate Change Polarization: Testing a Two-channel Model of Science Communication. "Annals of American Academy of Political & Social Sci.
Abstract: The cultural cognition thesis posits that individuals rely extensively on cultural meanings in forming perceptions of risk. The logic of the cultural cognition thesis suggests that a two-channel science communication strategy, combining information content (“Channel 1”) with cultural meanings (“Channel 2”), could promote open-minded assessment of information across diverse communities. We test this kind of communication strategy in a two-nation (United States, n = 1,500; England, n = 1,500) study, in which scientific information content on climate change was held constant while the cultural meaning of that information was experimentally manipulated. We found that cultural polarization over the validity of climate change science is offset by making citizens aware of the potential contribution of geoengineering as a supplement to restriction of CO2 emissions. We also tested the hypothesis, derived from a competing model of science communication, that exposure to information on geoengineering would lead citizens to discount climate change risks generally. Contrary to this hypothesis, we found that subjects exposed to information about geoengineering were slightly more concerned about climate change risks than those assigned to a control condition.
URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1981907
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1981907
Jenkins-Smith, H., D. Nohrstedt, C. Weible, and P. Sabatier. "The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Foundations, Evolution, and Ongoing Research." In Weible and Sabatier (eds). Theories of the Policy Process, 3rd Ed. Westview Press, 183-223.
Ripberger, Joseph, Geoboo Song, Matthew C. Nowlin, Michael Jones, and Hank Jenkins-Smith. 2012. “Reconsidering the Relationship Between Cultural Theory, Political Ideology, and Political Knowledge" Social Science Quarterly 93(3): 713-731.
Abstract: Social scientists from a variety of disciplines have employed concepts drawn from cultural theory (CT) to explain preferences across an array of issues. Recent research has challenged key elements of CT in a number of ways, perhaps most importantly by arguing that cultural types are simply another formulation of political ideology, and that only politically knowledgeable respondents reliably utilize either cultural or ideological categories in formulating preferences. This study reconsiders and expands upon this contention. Our findings are threefold: (1) people with low levels of political knowledge are able to sort egalitarianism and individualism into coherent worldviews; (2) people with high levels of knowledge do not collapse egalitarianism and individualism onto a single scale of political ideology; and (3) regardless of levels of knowledge, survey respondents are able to recognize all four of the value orientations proposed by CT. CT, which is related to but different than political ideology, offers a robust system of worldviews that both high- and low-knowledge individuals might draw upon to formulate opinions and make decisions.
DOI: DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00884.x
Dan M. Kahan, Hank C. Jenkins-Smith and Donald Braman. 2011. “Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus,” Journal of Risk Research, 14(2):147-174.
Abstract: Why do members of the public disagree – sharply and persistently – about facts on which expert scientists largely agree? We designed a study to test a distinctive explanation: the cultural cognition of scientific consensus. The ‘cultural cognition of risk’ refers to the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions that are congenial to their values. The study presents both correlational and experimental evidence confirming that cultural cognition shapes individuals’ beliefs about the existence of scientific consensus, and the process by which they form such beliefs, relating to climate change, the disposal of nuclear wastes, and the effect of permitting concealed possession of handguns. The implications of this dynamic for science communication and public policy-making are discussed.
DOI: DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2010.511246
Gawande, Kishore, Hank Jenkins-Smith and May Juan. 2012. “The Long-Run Impact of Nuclear Waste Shipments on the Property Market: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (in press).
Abstract: We use evidence from a quasi-experiment –the shipping of radioactive spent nuclear fuel by train through South Carolina –to assess whether many years of incident-free transport of nuclear waste no longer negatively affects market valuation of properties along the route. Using Charleston County (SC) property sales data over 13 years we find, to the contrary, that the negative impact of the nuclear waste shipments on property values continues to be felt over the long run. The perception of risk from nuclear waste transport appears to be resilient. We contribute methodologically by comparing well- defined treatment and control groups of properties to estimate the average treatment effect of the nuclear waste shipment program. The results are affirmed in both a pooled cross-section sample, as well as a panel data sample of repeated property sales.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.jeem.2012.07.003
Goebbert, Kevin, Hank Jenkins-Smith, Kim Klockow, Matthew Nowlin, and Carol Silva. 2012. “Weather, Climate and Worldviews: The Sources and Consequences of Public Perceptions of Changes in Local Weather Patterns.” Weather, Climate and Society 4(2): 132-144.
Abstract: This paper analyzes the changes Americans perceive to be taking place in their local weather and tests a series of hypotheses about why they hold these perceptions. Using data from annual nationwide surveys of the American public taken from 2008 to 2011, coupled with geographically specific measures of temperature and precipitation changes over that same period, the authors evaluate the relationship between perceptions of weather changes and actual changes in local weather. In addition, the survey data include measures of individual-level characteristics (age, education level, gender, and income) as well as cultural worldview and political ideology. Rival hypotheses about the origins of Americans’ perceptions of weather change are tested, and it is found that actual weather changes are less predictive of perceived changes in local temperatures, but better predictors of perceived flooding and droughts. Cultural biases and political ideology also shape perceptions of changes in local weather. Overall, the analysis herein indicates that beliefs about changes in local temperatures have been more heavily politicized than is true for beliefs about local precipitation patterns. Therefore, risk communications linking changes in local patterns of precipitation to broader changes in the climate are more likely to penetrate identity-protective cognitions about climate.
DOI: DOI: 10.1175/WCAS-D-11-00044.1
Jones, Michael, and Hank Jenkins-Smith. 2009. "Trans-Subsystem Dynamics: Policy Topography, Mass Opinion, and Policy Change." Policy Studies Journal 38 (1): 37-58.
Abstract: We argue that the treatment of trans-subsystem change, and particularly the role of public opinion in fostering such change, within the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) has been underspecified. We propose a model of ?policy topography? that combines the concepts of public opinion, clusters of linked subsystems, and policy issue venues. While the ACF has characterized subsystems as relatively self-contained, we argue that they are more usefully understood as operating in a relatively permeable fashion among evolving clusters of subsystems linked together by networked relations, strategically overlapping policy considerations, and public opinion disruptions. The ?policy topography? model offers opportunities to assess the relationships across policy subsystems, and to better specify the critical relationship between public policy and mass opinions. We offer examples, and suggest hypotheses along with avenues for appropriate empirical analysis.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.2008.00294.x
Weible, C., P. Sabatier, H. Jenkins-Smith, D.Nohrstedt, A. Henry and P. deLeon. 2011. "A Quarter Century of the Advocacy Coalition Framework: An Introduction to the Special Issue." Policy Studies Journal 39 (3): 349-360.
Abstract: About two decades ago, Paul Sabatier (1991) urged scholars to develop better theories and empirics for understanding policy processes. Sabatier?s proposition, along with Hank Jenkins-Smith, was the advocacy coalition framework (ACF) (Sabatier, 1988; Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993). The original version of the ACF sought to make important contributions to the policy process literature by responding to several perceived ?needs?: a need to take longer term time perspectives to understand policy change; a need for a more complex view of subsystems to cover both researchers and intergovernmental relations; a need for more attention to the role of science in policy; and a need for a more realistic model of the individual rooted in psychology and not in microeconomics.rnThe ACF has since become a foundation for guiding theoretically-driven inquiry into some of the questions that lie at the core of policy process research: How do people mobilize, maintain and act in advocacy coalitions? To what extent do people learn, especially from allies and from opponents? What is the role of scientists and scientific and technical information in policymaking? What factors influence both minor and major policy change? Since its inception, these questions have been explored in a variety of contexts from around the world (Weible et al., 2010).rn
DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.2011.00412.x
Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Carol L. Silva, Matthew C. Nowlin, and Grant deLozier. 2011. "Reversing Nuclear Opposition: Evolving Public Acceptance of a Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility." Risk Analysis 31(4): 629-644.
Abstract: Nuclear facilities have long been seen as the top of the list of locally unwanted-land-uses (LULUs), with nuclear waste repositories generating the greatest opposition. Focusing on the case of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southern New Mexico, we test competing hypothesis concerning the sources of opposition and support for siting the facility, including demographics, proximity, political ideology, and partisanship, and the unfolding policy process over time. This study tracks the changes of risk perception and acceptance of WIPP over a decade, using measures taken from 35 statewide surveys of New Mexico citizens spanning an 11-year period from fall 1990 to summer 2001. This time span includes periods before and after WIPP became operational. We find that acceptance of WIPP is greater among those whose residences are closest to the WIPP facility. Surprisingly, and contrary to expectations drawn from the broader literature, acceptance is also greater among those who live closest to the nuclear waste transportation route. We also find that ideology, partisanship, government approval, and broader environmental concerns influence support for WIPP acceptance. Finally, the sequence of procedural steps taken toward formal approval of WIPP by government agencies proved to be important to gaining public acceptance, the most significant being the opening of the WIPP facility itself.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01543.x

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

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory PRIMARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Public Opinion SECONDARY