Current Research Projects
My dissertation examines the social organizational explanations of Texas oil and gas venting and flaring practices using a mixed methods approach. The first chapter of my dissertation introduces the problem under study- Texas oil and gas extraction industry venting and flaring practices. The second chapter is a historical analysis of the politics of the problem. I use archival information I obtained through a Public Information Act request to the Texas Railroad Commission to show how policy changed to increase the legal opportunities for companies to vent or flare gas. The third chapter analyzes the communities most exposed to Texas oil and gas venting and flaring practices during the most recent shale oil boom. I review environmental justice and double diversion/diproportionality research and explain my research contribution. Then I use restricted (American Community Survey) and public (Texas Railroad Commission, National Center for Charitable Statistics, and Census TIGER shapefiles) data to build and compare several quantitative regression models (i.e., ordinary lease squares, tobit, and a two-part logit-zero truncated negative binomial models) at several units of analysis (i.e., county, block group, and facility levels). The chapter concludes by explaining the importance of accounting for disproportionality in environmental justice research. The fourth chapter explains the characteristics of facilities most responsible for venting and flaring. I review several economic, political, and social organizational explanations of disproportionate industrial pollution emissions to develop hypothesis about why some facilities vent and flare and others do not and why some facilities vent and flare a large amount in comparison to others. I then use restricted (American Commnity Survey) and public (Texas Railroad Commission, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Census TIGER shapefiles, and United States Energy Information Administration Natural Gas Interstate and Intrastate Pipeline shapefiles) data to develop several regression models (i.e., ordinary lease squares, tobit, and a two-part logit-zero truncated negative binomial models) at the facility-level. I finish the chapter by explaining how political and economic factors relate to oil and gas extraction facility venting and flaring volumes. The fifth chapter analyzes the types of companies that operate facilities that vent and flare the most. I review literature on high-risk organizational systems and corporate structures. Then I relate my research back to disproportionality before using restricted (American Community Survey) and public (Texas Railroad Commission, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Census TIGER shapefiles, and United States Energy Information Administration Natural Gas Interstate and Intrastate Pipeline shapefiles, and LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations) data to develop several regression models (i.e., ordinary lease squares, tobit, two-part logit-zero truncated negative binomial, and two-part two-step generalized linear mixed models) at several units of analysis (i.e., facility, and operator-levels). I argue that organizational complexity and size are key factors related to heavy polluting industrial organizations. The final sixth chapter concludes by summarizing my argument and making several methodological and policy recommendations.
Future Research Projects
Extending Dissertation Analysis
I plan to extend my dissertation research by bringing in more variables at the operating company/central headquarters-level, and adding on a third level to my analysis- the ultimate parent company or what Census calls the "firm". I already have been approved by Census and the IRS to access various restricted datasets (i.e., the Longitudinal Business Database, Report of Organization, Census of Mining, Business Register/Standard Statistical Establishment Listing- Name & Address File, Decennial Census, and American Community Survey) to conduct this analysis.
A Longitudinal Approach to Explaining Corporate Pollution
While my dissertation analysis and its extension provide key incites into the communities most effected by Texas oil and gas venting and flaring emissions and the organizational entities most responsible, it is limited in its limited focus. To overcome this issue, I plan to jump into a longitudinal and comparative analysis of the Texas and North Dakota oil and gas extraction industries.
Past Research Projects
My master's project examined the exercise of power in the U.S.-Middle East foreign policy formation process. Historical analysis supports a central proposition in historical contingency theory, which suggests political power and alignment of class segments varies over time and is impacted by respective economic interests. Class segments unified to create political alliances with both Congress and the executive branch to establish preconditions to the provision of U.S. loan guarantees to Israel. As class segments began to mobilize politically, the pro-Israel lobby became split. Economic interests and previous state structures led to the establishment of class coalitions. Coalition efforts resulted in the establishment of the 1992 policy linking Israeli foreign aid to Israel’s settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, among other conditions. The analysis suggests that future research on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East should not focus only on the actions of state managers, but should examine how and under which conditions do social forces external to the state influence the foreign policy formation process.