Gwen Arnold

Gwen Arnold

Position Title
Associate Professor

Environmental Science and Policy


Arnold, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, specializes in environmental policy. Arnold completed a Ph.D. in public policy at Indiana University. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 2013, coming from the Department of Political Science at University of Cincinnati.

Research interests:

Policy, hydrology, energy, environment and natural resources, intergovernmental relations, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), wetlands, social networks, quantitative and qualitative methods

Brief overview:

Experts argue that we need scientific information to solve the complex environmental problems that society faces. However, we know relatively little about when, why, and how scientific knowledge is integrated into the public policy process. My research addresses this gap by examining how various factors affect the way science is applied (or is not applied) to difficult real-world environmental policy problems such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or preservation of wetlands. I use a variety of methods to investigate the science-policy divide, including surveys, interviews, social network analysis, and statistical analysis.

Current projects:

  • Evaluating how citizens and policymakers learn and make decisions about fracking
  • Analyzing how cross-state differences in fracking law and regulation affect the behavior of oil and gas companies
  • Understanding adoption and use of wetland assessment tools by state officials
  • Assessing the policy impact of cooperative environmental federalism (the manner in which authority over natural resources management is allocated among different levels of government)
  • Exploring how norms within large natural resource bureaucracies shape policy implementation