While my dissertation research has been focused on information-based environmental governance in the US context, I am excited to further investigate this phenomenon in other countries as well. In particular, I would like to explore the growth of eco-labels and ratings in China, where I have lived and worked for four years and speak the official language, Mandarin Chinese. I began field research this summer on a new research project evaluating the effectiveness and role of information in ecotourism projects in China, and plan to publish a peer-reviewed journal article in the coming months related to this work. This research is funded by the University of Wisconsin’s NSF IGERT Program.
Both government and quasi-government organizations in China have been developing information-based initiatives to improve environmental performance, such as organic food labels, ecotourism certifications, corporate pollution databases, and green GDP measures, and I am interested in analyzing the effectiveness of these programs. I have also conducted interviews with experts on certifications and ratings in Japan, Taiwan, Costa Rica, and Europe, and plan to follow-up on this research with further comparative analyses of the popularity and perceived effectiveness of these programs. I am also interested in the relationships between these different initiatives– how similar and different are they, and how effective have international efforts to harmonize them been? How do these efforts relate to and influence other issues in emerging markets and international relations? How are they affected by, and affect, the dual forces of globalization and localization? I hope to address each of these issues in my future research on this topic.