The impact of information provision on the social acceptance of shale gas development

Kânoğlu, Dilge Güldehen
Social acceptance is critical to the market penetration of new products and technolo-gies as well as the successful implementation of policies, including those concerning energy demand. The hydraulic fracturing technique employed in the development of shale gas has been followed by controversy and this has resulted in the emergence of heterogeneity in attitudes towards the process. This thesis proposes a model for understanding the acceptance of shale gas development. The proposed model encom-passes the factors: perceived benefits, risks and costs, procedural and distributional fairness, trust, outcome efficacy, problem perception, knowledge and experience. The study then explores the impact of information provision from different sources (the government, the industry, environmental NGOs and scientists) and of different con-tent (scientific and non-scientific) on acceptance. A one-way ANOVA suggests that a significant difference between the means of the acceptance of shale gas development close to one’s house exists among the control group and the group that received in-formation from scientists. However, an overall evaluation of the model through the partial least squares technique reveals that apart from that between experience and knowledge, information provision does not alter the relationships among the factors that impact the acceptance of shale gas development significantly. For the experience factor, the results indicate that experience has a strong positive impact on knowledge for the control group only. This is crucial in that it underlines that selecting an ade-quate means of communication between relevant actors and the society could break the utilization of previous experience to construct a knowledge base.