Stakeholder Perceptions of Scientists: Lake Tahoe Environmental Policy from 1984 to 2001
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- Weible, C.M. Environmental Management (2007) 40: 853. doi:10.1007/s00267-007-9005-2
What factors explain stakeholders’ perceptions of scientists in environmental politics? Questionnaire data are used to examine stakeholders’ views of scientific experts in the context of Lake Tahoe environmental policy from 1984 to 2001. Stakeholders’ perceptions of scientists have remained the same over time – despite a shift from adversarial to collaborative policymaking and after decades of mounting scientific evidence showing water quality declines. On average, stakeholders perceive scientists with limited influence on Lake Tahoe environmental policy and view them with mixed levels of skepticism. Stakeholders’ evaluation of scientists is best explained by their beliefs about development versus the environment. Stakeholders in favor of more land development express distrust of scientists and negatively evaluate university researchers and consultants. Stakeholders in favor of environmental protection are more likely to trust scientists and positively evaluate university researchers and consultants.