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1 Public Involvement in Risk Management - Retrospective and Assessment Keith Florig and Jianhua Xu Department of Engineering and Public Policy Carnegie.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Public Involvement in Risk Management - Retrospective and Assessment Keith Florig and Jianhua Xu Department of Engineering and Public Policy Carnegie."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Public Involvement in Risk Management - Retrospective and Assessment Keith Florig and Jianhua Xu Department of Engineering and Public Policy Carnegie Mellon University

2 2 Outline Rationales for public involvement History (big picture) Technical and democratic values schism Analytic-deliberative process What makes for successful public involvement? CMU risk ranking method

3 3 Rationales for citizen participation Fiorino, Normative – government needs consent of the governed to claim legitimacy 2.Substantive – information and wisdom is available in all quarters 3.Instrumental – participation promotes acceptance and implementation of decision, trust in decision makers

4 4 Ladder of Citizen Participation Arnstein 1969 Pre-1970s ?

5 5 New Deal Model – 1930s-1950s Regulatory agencies=repositories of expertise Experts know best Problems proved more complex than experts anticipated. Political components defied modeling. Regulatory agencies became captured by industries they regulate.

6 6 Decide-Announce-Defend Approach to Public Involvement 1960s-1970s Public found its voice through civil rights, Vietnam, and environment movements. No longer trusting and complacent. Rise of interest group politics and the resourceful NGO. Protest groups arose to stop many proposed projects (dams, highways, power plants) Risk managers were forced to talk to the public, but were typically defensive and condescending. They characterized the situation as anarchy.

7 7 Adversarial democracy Mansbridge (1983) Beyond Adversarial Democracy Taipei 2001 Seabrook, NH 1979 Assumes peoples’ preferences are fixed Goal of participants is to dominate opponent by drowning them out, and suppressing and discrediting opponent’s message, Used when conflicting interests that are greater than common interests.

8 8 Deliberative Democracy –Assumes preferences can be changed by dialogue and inquiry (new facts, new framings) –Goal of process managers is to provide opportunities for iterative exchange of information and views among all parties –Possible only when conflicting interests are small enough that dialogue evolves to focus on common interests.

9 9 Public Involvement in the 21 st Century As experience with public involvement accumulates, risk managers may be less fearful of the process, and more likely to embrace it. Emerging legislation, regulation, and guidance on public involvement can promote its use. But, many barriers remain.

10 10 Technical and Democratic Values Schism Adapted from Fiorino 1989 Technical values –Bounded rationality (logical, consistent) –Objectivity (if it can’t be measured, it’s not relevant) –Efficiency (make best use of available resources) –Expertise (experts know best) Democratic values –Unbounded rationality –Subjective (perceptions, feelings, and values matter) –Experiential (trust history, not theory) –Sociocultural (political power, process, and fairness matter) –Democracy (the people know best)

11 11 Value content of risk management Justice framework. Risk management should –Utilitarian (maximize average welfare) –Libertarian (minimize coercion) –Social justice (minimize harm to worst off) Relative weights for multiple risk attributes Boundaries of risk management decision (e.g., mitigation vs. prevention).

12 12 Risk assessment/management divide NRC 1983 “Redbook” called for experts to assess risks and for the public to be engaged later, when management decisions are made.

13 13 Value content of risk assessment What is risk? Morbidity/mortality or multi-attribute (e.g., fair, catastrophic, relative or absolute) Who is appointed to risk assessment committees? Whose data are admissible? How are risks categorized and summarized: diseases, populations, physical agent, activities (e.g., coal burning) Who assesses the assessors’ heuristics and biases (e.g., reluctance to admit ignorance - GMOs)?

14 14 Asymmetry coded in Risk-Speak “Risk management” implies power hierarchy “Risk communication,” in its most common usage, has meant experts teaching the public the science, not the public teaching analysts about framing and values. Condescending terms such as “perceived” (not real) risk

15 15 Natural science and economics bias? Risk management is the process of identifying, evaluating, selecting, and implementing actions to reduce risk to human health and to ecosystems. The goal of risk management is scientifically sound, cost-effective, integrated actions that reduce or prevent risks while taking into account social, cultural, ethical, political, and legal considerations. Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, 1997.

16 16 Analytic-Deliberative Process, NRC 1996 Non-adversarial process to share information and opinion. Addresses normative need for democracy Brings out many perspectives, producing learning by all participants Results in more rational and legitimate outcomes

17 17 Analytic-Deliberative Process for Risk Management NRC, “Understanding Risk…” 1996

18 18 Diffusion of analytic-deliberative process (ADP) Barriers to ADP include unpredictability, cost, time, and lack of process expertise among risk management agencies. ADP is still rare (221 google hits), although its use is growing. Widespread practice may require that ADP be mandated by laws, regulations, and codes of practice

19 19 Core Values in EPA’s Model Plan for Public Participation (2000) People should have a say in decisions that affect their lives Participation includes promise that participation will influence decision Involve participants in defining how they will participate All participants should have process needs met Provide participants with information to participate in a meaningful way Provide feedback on how input was used

20 20 What makes “successful” participation Chess and Purcell 1999 Data are insufficient to conclude what form of participation works best in a given situation. Agency actions (overdominance, condescension, insufficient notice) impact process and outcome success. Participants satisfaction with process predicts satisfaction with outcome Rules of thumb: clarify goals, begin participation early, be flexible with process, use more than one format, collect feedback.

21 21 CMU Risk Ranking Method Step C Describe the risks in terms of the attributes in risk summary sheets Step C Describe the risks in terms of the attributes in risk summary sheets Step D Perform the risk rankings. Step D Perform the risk rankings. Step B Identify the risk attributes that should be considered Step B Identify the risk attributes that should be considered Step E Describe the issues identified and the resulting rankings. Step E Describe the issues identified and the resulting rankings. Step A Define and categorize the risks to be ranked. Experts Lay people Analysts

22 22 Advantages Relatively clear separation of science, values and preferences The process make value judgments explicit Analytically rigorous, repeatable Participants endorse it Disadvantages The method does not involve public in the earliest stages. (the categorization and risk assessment steps) It doesn't allow for reframing of alternatives as dialogue proceeds It’s expensive and time-consuming CMU Risk Ranking Method

23 23 Applying CMU Risk Ranking Method in China Chinese officials are wary of open public involvement, yet recognize that public input may be needed to confer legitimacy on decisions. The CMU method offers the prospect of gathering public input in a non-threatening way. Jianhua Xu is now adapting the CMU method for experiments with Chinese groups this summer.

24 24 Thanks!


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