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Risk, place and oil and gas policy preferences among Coloradoans




Mayer, Adam, author
Shelley, Tara O'Connor, advisor
Malin, Stephanie, committee member
Lacy, Mike, committee member
Loomis, John, committee member

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Unconventional oil and gas extraction, primarily via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), has changed the energy landscape in the United States. The policy regime currently governing fracking is a complex patchwork in which state regulators have the primary authority. Social scientists have thoroughly documented general beliefs and risk perceptions related to fracking there is a lack of policy-related research. This dissertation examined public policy preferences for fracking regulation using a survey data from a statewide sample of Coloradoans. Theoretically, it was hypothesized that policy support hinged upon factors like risk perceptions, benefit perceptions, place attachment, community economic identity and political ideology. Overall, risk perceptions and political ideology emerged as relatively consistent and powerful predictors of support for unconventional oil and gas regulatory policy. On the other hand, several possible predictors had little to no role. Benefit perceptions had little effect on any policy dependent variable. Further, community economic identity and place attachment played very little role. I discuss policy implications and directions for future research.


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risk perception
political identity
contingent valuation


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