Probing Narrative Cognition: How Do Policy Elites and the General Public Internalize Competing Policy Narratives on Hydraulic Fracturing?

38 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2020

See all articles by Rachael Moyer

Rachael Moyer

University of Arkansas Graduate School and International Education-Public Policy Ph.D. Program

Geoboo Song

University of Arkansas

Michael Jones

Oregon State University

Date Written: December 4, 2019

Abstract

The use of hydraulic fracturing (HF) technologies to extract oil and gas in the United States has sparked contentious policy debates. Constituting these debates, competing policy narratives position HF as either a threat to the environment or as an opportunity to realize economic gain. This paper examines how policy elites and the general public cognitively internalize competing HF policy narratives, comparing their cognitive patterns of semantic narrative elements. Based on original survey data, structural topic modeling (STM) is applied to extract latent topics from open-ended text responses and to unpack relationships between narrative cognition and theory-driven correlates including socially constructed worldviews, party identity, trust, and demographic characteristics. We find that worldviews guide the cognitive selection of narrative elements for both policy elites and members of the general public in similar but distinct ways. We then discuss how our findings contribute to the advancement of the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) and our understanding of the policy process more generally, as well as highlight practical and methodological implications of the study.

Keywords: Narrative Policy Framework, Cultural Theory, Hydraulic Fracturing, Public Opinion, Elite Decision-making

Suggested Citation

Moyer, Rachael and Song, Geoboo and Jones, Michael, Probing Narrative Cognition: How Do Policy Elites and the General Public Internalize Competing Policy Narratives on Hydraulic Fracturing? (December 4, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3498636 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3498636

Rachael Moyer (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas Graduate School and International Education-Public Policy Ph.D. Program ( email )

AK
United States

Geoboo Song

University of Arkansas ( email )

Old Main 321
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.uark.edu/gbsong

Michael Jones

Oregon State University ( email )

Bexell Hall 200
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

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