The Killing of Cecil the Lion as an Impetus for Policy Change
Stefan Carpenter and David M. Konisky, The Killing of Cecil the Lion as an Impetus for Policy Change," Oryx, Forthcoming
30 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017
Date Written: July 19, 2017
The killing of Cecil the Lion in July 2015 generated considerable worldwide media attention. In this study, we measure public interest in Cecil’s death to examine the degree to which this high-profile incident represented the type of focusing event that public policy scholars often emphasize as being important for triggering policy change. Finding that public interest in lion conservation spiked in the weeks immediately following the incident, we then analyse whether this focusing event led to policy changes to restrict trophy hunting in eight countries – the United States, Spain, France, Russia, Canada, South Africa, Germany, and Mexico – that most frequently import lion trophies. Our analysis finds that the surge in public attention seems to have had only a limited impact on the adoption of significant new policy, although it may have hastened changes in some countries.
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