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Stakeholders' Perspectives on Hydrogen Policy: A Factor Analysis

  • Author(s): Collantes, Gustavo O
  • et al.

In the context of a study of the policy process related to the adoption of hydrogen as a transportation fuel, an online survey was administered in May of 2005. The survey, sent to a sample about 4,000 individuals, obtained measures of stakeholders' perspectives on a wide variety of issues related to hydrogen policy. A total of 502 responses were received. Details on the survey sampling scheme, respondents' characteristics, and general descriptive statistics, can be found in Collantes (2005).

Factor analysis is a statistical data-reduction technique that aims at explaining the common variance in a number of variables with one single variable called "factor." Much of the value in—to many the Achilles heel of—factor analysis is that it elicits the incorporation of subjective expert judgments from the analyst. Conceptually, the idea of factor analysis is to use more than one variable to capture a hypothetical underlying (or latent) continuous construct. This technique found its first applications in psychometrics and has been widely adopted in the social sciences. One example relevant to policy analysis would be the operationalization of the concept of environmentalism. Environmentalism is not a measurable characteristic—rather it is a continuous latent construct. Obtaining measurements of the different aspects that define environmentalism, and running a factor analysis of them, could yield one single variable, a factor, which captures this concept. A good introduction to factor analysis can be found in Dillon (1984).

The hydrogen policy survey was designed, among other things, to investigate some of the underlying concepts present in the policy debate. Such latent constructs include: policy beliefs, policy preferences, stakeholders interests, hydrogen production pathway preferences, hydrogen education policy beliefs, and research policy preferences. This report presents the factor analyses that identify the underlying constructs in each of these areas. The results have value in and of themselves as they help understand the map of policy-related attitudes among participants in the policy debate over hydrogen. Also, the factors identified can be used as explanatory variables in further analyses of the same dataset.

This report is structured as follows. Section 2 presents a factor analysis of the set of normative policy belief statements in the survey. Section 3 presents a factor analysis of the statements related to policy preferences. Section 4 presents a factor analysis of the organizations' market interests. Section 5 presents a factor analysis of the preferences for hydrogen production pathways. Section 6 presents a factor analysis of the beliefs in terms of the synergies between markets for a number of technologies and markets for fuel-cell vehicles. Section 7 presents a factor analysis of research policy preferences. Section 8 presents a factor analysis of education policy beliefs. Finally, section 9 presents a discussion of the results, their interpretations, and implications for policy.

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