Dr Carolyn Petersen

Associate Research Fellow

Carolyn's active research interests are in the intersection between social science and environmental research, including environment-health and wellbeing links, natural capital and economic valuation, and governance of natural resources, as well as citizenship, participation and the voluntary sector in the UK. She is currently working on the EU-funded project SIM4NEXUS (https://www.sim4nexus.eu/) carrying out policy and governance analysis on the nexus involving water, energy and agriculture in the South West.

Carolyn recently completed a NERC-funded Valuing Nature Placement in partnership with Clinton Devon Estates and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health on the links between environment and health and wellbeing. The project aimed to quantify the health and wellbeing value of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths and explore the potential of partnerships with private sector organisations to increase the associated benefits. It included an assessment of the economic value of this site using visitor data and economic valuation tools including travel cost, ORVal, the WHO's Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) and the MOVES tool, and also involved conducting interviews and a workshop with stakeholders. The project blog can be found on: https://carolynpetersen616789341.wordpress.com/ 

Previously (2014-2018) Carolyn worked with Prof Oliver James in the Politics Department on a 4-country ESRC-funded project entitled the Structure and Organisation of Government (SOG-PRO), which investigated and developed innovative ways to describe and understand organisational dynamics at central government level. Prior to that she worked with Oliver James (2013-14) on the EU-funded research programme 'Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future' (http://www.cocops.eu/), a public management research consortium consisting of 11 universities in 10 countries, investigating blame attribution / blame shifting as a result of contracting out of public services, using survey experiment methodology.

She holds a PhD in the Social Sciences from the University of Edinburgh, which focused on citizenship and civil society struggles over livelihoods and adult educational access in coastal communities in South Africa. Prior to joining Exeter University she carried out research for Plymouth University, DFID and UNESCO, and taught in the Politics department at Newcastle University. She has also worked in the voluntary sector in the UK (social care; community development and community renewable energy in Scotland).

Carolyn has developed strong inter-disciplinary research interests including in wellbeing, livelihoods and governance of natural resources; and in sustainability, community development and community renewable energy initiatives. In 2014-15 she was involved in designing visitor management surveys for nature sites for Footprint Ecology.

Recent publications

James, O. and C. Petersen. (2017). International rankings of government performance and source credibility for citizens: experiments about e-government rankings in the UK and the Netherlands. Public Management Review (Advanced Access). doi: 10.1080/14719037.2017.1296965

James, O., S. Jilke, C. Petersen and S. Van de Walle. (forthcoming 2016). Citizens’ Blame of Politicians for Public Service Failure: Experimental Evidence about Blame Reduction through Delegation and Contracting. Public Administration Review [advanced online access Nov2015]. doi: 10.1111/puar.12471

Gray, C., R. Turner, C. Sutton, C. Petersen, S. Stevens, J. Swain, B. Esmond, C. Schofield and D. Thackeray. (2015). Research methods teaching in vocational environments: developing critical engagement with knowledge? Journal of Vocational Education and Training 67(3): 274-293. doi: 10.1080/13636820.2015.1050443.