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Scale matters: Variation in perceptions of shale gas development across national, state, and local levels

Evensen, Darrick T.N. ORCID: and Stedman, Richard 2016. Scale matters: Variation in perceptions of shale gas development across national, state, and local levels. Energy Research and Social Science 20 , pp. 14-21. 10.1016/j.erss.2016.06.010

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We explore the extent to which public perceptions of shale gas development vary across three survey samples—one each at: (1) national (USA), (2) state (NY and PA), and (3) regional levels (ten counties in the Marcellus Shale). We compare results from a survey of Marcellus Shale region residents (n = 1202) to those from a similar survey of a US sample (n = 1625), with an oversampling of residents from NY and PA (n = 516). A key difference between the local sample and the other two samples is that respondents’ beliefs about impacts of development explain much more variance in support for/opposition to development in the local sample. The beliefs about development that associate most closely with support/opposition vary across scale as well. Nevertheless, a few core values are important for predicting support/opposition across all samples. These results suggest a threshold effect in that local perceptions of shale gas development do not seem to extend far beyond the counties immediately affected by development. Construal level theory and social representations theory help explain why perceptions at the local level may differ from the regional and national levels. We consider implications for communication and social science research on energy development broadly.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shale gas; Construal level theory; Social representations; Proximity
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2214-6296
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 December 2016
Date of Acceptance: 8 June 2016
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2022 07:51

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