This research examines public acceptability of regulations to reduce agricultural nutrient runoff and curb Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). We tested the effects of two novel policy specific beliefs including support for farmers’ autonomy and support for external accountability. We also simultaneously tested the direct and indirect effects of political orientation and environmental worldview through a Direct Effect Model and a Mediation Model using structural equation modelling. Survey data were collected from 729 Ohio residents collected in November 2018. The specific regulatory policy measure we targeted is fines on excessive agricultural runoff. As hypothesized, autonomy beliefs negatively affect, and accountability positively affect support for fines. Both models revealed good fits. the direct effects of environmental worldviews political orientation were not supported. Instead, environmental worldviews indirectly increased support for fines through increased accountability beliefs and diminished autonomy beliefs. From the results, we suggest that when proposing suitable regulations for specific sites, policy makers and interest groups should be aware of differences in public support for farmer autonomy and external accountability, and that such differences are likely rooted in environmental worldviews. The study also suggests a need for coupled ecological and social studies that assess the likelihood of regional agricultural producers voluntarily adopting conservation practices and forecast the effectiveness of potential accountability measures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law