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Regulators as agents: modelling personality and power as evidence is brokered to support decisions on environmental risk

Davies, G.J., Kendall, G., Soane, E., Li, J., Rocks, S.A., Jude, S.R. and Pollard, S.J.T. (2014) Regulators as agents: modelling personality and power as evidence is brokered to support decisions on environmental risk. Science of the Total Environment, 466-67. pp. 74-83. ISSN 0048-9697

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.06.116


Complex regulatory decisions about risk rely on the brokering of evidence between providers and recipients, and involve personality and power relationships that influence the confidence that recipients may place in the sufficiency of evidence and, therefore, the decision outcome. We explore these relationships in an agent-based model; drawing on concepts from environmental risk science, decision psychology and computer simulation. A two-agent model that accounts for the sufficiency of evidence is applied to decisions about salt intake, animal carcass disposal and radioactive waste. A dynamic version of the model assigned personality traits to agents, to explore their receptivity to evidence. Agents with ‘aggressor’ personality sets were most able to imbue fellow agents with enhanced receptivity (with ‘avoider’ personality sets less so) and clear confidence in the sufficiency of evidence. In a dynamic version of the model, when both recipient and provider were assigned the ‘aggressor’ personality set, this resulted in 10 successful evidence submissions in 71 days, compared with 96 days when both agents were assigned the ‘avoider’ personality set. These insights suggest implications for improving the efficiency and quality of regulatory decision making by understanding the role of personality and power.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Management
Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2013 13:34
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 02:19
Projects: EP/E017975/1, EP/G022682/1, EP/G022682/1, EP/G022682/1
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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