Cognitive Bias in Decision Making About Development Permits for Living Shorelines: The Case of Wetlands Boards in Virginia Localities
This paper explores the factors impacting permit decisions of citizen wetlands boards in Virginia's localities, specifically identifying any potential sources of cognitive bias in decision making stemming from the use of heuristics and social influences. Semi-structured interviews were conducted of wetlands board chairs and board staff to understand the factors influencing decision making. While technical guidelines are found to affect the decisions of these shoreline regulators, their decisions are not free of heuristics and social influences. Past experiences and processes of compromise and negotiation with property owners are highly valued as part of the permit-approval process. The paper highlights the opportunity for effective citizen engagement in environmental management decisions and the challenges involved.
Original Publication Citation
Rawat, P., Yusuf, J.-E., & Covi, M. (2021). Cognitive bias in decision making about development permits for living shorelines: The case of wetlands boards in Virginia localities. Ecological Engineering, 173, 1-9, Article 106423. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2021.106423
Rawat, Pragati; Yusuf, Juita-Elena (Wie); and Covi, Michelle, "Cognitive Bias in Decision Making About Development Permits for Living Shorelines: The Case of Wetlands Boards in Virginia Localities" (2021). School of Public Service Faculty Publications. 47.