Cover: Beliefs, Needs, and Participation

Beliefs, Needs, and Participation

Aligning Risk Governance and Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty Methods

Published May 11, 2023

by Sara Turner

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Climate driven disasters are increasing in frequency, intensity, and severity, driven by shifts in hazard distribution, changes to population exposure, and social vulnerability. As these impacts intensify, there is an need to develop methods that can address the heterogeneous ways people experience them. Over the past 30 years there has been growing agreement that bottom-up, community-based, and participatory approaches to risk governance can lead to more effective, longer-lasting approaches to mitigating to disaster risk. This dissertation explores three ways that incorporating social heterogeneity derived from risk governance principles can enhance the application of decision making under deep uncertainty-based analyses of disasters (DMDU). It does so through three diverse case studies that make methodological extensions to existing approaches to risk governance and DMDU. All three identify key themes that risk reduction practitioners, planners, and policymakers need to address in work to reduce risk due to climatologically driven disasters.

Paper 1 enhances representation of beliefs using the tools of DMDU - scenario discovery and robustness, applied to the case of global carbon taxes and SLR adaptation. It finds that addition of explicit representation enables comparison of decision options on socially contentious policy areas. Paper 2 extends the modeling of flood losses by analyzing flood impacts at household level and considers impacts of uncertainty in future climate change and intervention cost at a subnational level in Argentina. It finds that we can identify complementary policies for flood risk reduction by expanding metrics used in analysis. Paper 3 contributes to methods for analyzing participation in risk governance through an application to a DMDU analysis with deliberation process for landslide warning system design. It finds that this disaggregation helps understand barriers and opportunities for specific system design choices.

Taken together, these papers find that looking across social and governance scales, enhancing the representation of social heterogeneity can improve both the analytic tools and engagement processes used in decision-making under deep uncertainty. It also highlights that there remain scalar challenges to integrating these tools and the decision processes that offer rich opportunities for future research.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2022 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Dr. Robert Lempert, Dr. Kelly Klima, Dr. Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, and Dr. Julie Rozenberg (outside reader).

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.