Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2020
Despite increasing concerns over climate change, the United States has been slow in adopting national policies for the use of alternative and renewable energy. In public policy literature, punctuated equilibrium theory (PET) suggests that the policy process is characterized by periods of stasis and incremental change, which are interrupted by short periods of punctuated and intense change. Ultimately, PET is a theory of organizational information processing where the extent of punctuated bursts of policy activity are determined by an adjustment in the type and amount of information coming into the political system. Current research into PET explains the information behind punctuated change; however, few have examined the impact of changing cultural values. This study builds on PET research by examining the relationship between changing American cultural values and their impact on the adoption of alternative and renewable energy policy. When new values successfully penetrate a culture, they have achieved cultural penetration. Previous studies have illustrated that one method of measuring cultural penetration is through the written works of a culture. Using the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) databases to measure cultural penetration, this study found that cultural penetration was negatively related to alternative and renewable energy law adoption, suggesting that cultural penetration of sustainable energy terms does not result in punctuated policy change.