School of Public Policy Capstones

Publication Date



As a public policy worker in environmental issues, I have been closely related to a diversity of public forums where they are discussed and even solved. I cannot introduce this knowledge in this capstone by using classic scientific methods, because I feel this faction of academia consider daily observation as mere “anecdotes”. Therefore, it is necessary to make a political statement, and position myself as a postmodern feminist. The reason of this announcement is to explicitly state the epistemological theory from which I pretend to generate knowledge about the topic I chose for this Capstone project, which is the Donna Haraway’s ‘situated knowledge’. This theory challenges male oriented objectivity and support the explicit positioning of the narrator in a scientific work. In this context, this work will include my own knowledge as a lawyer and observations of processes going on in my country in a thread complemented by classic quantitative and qualitative research.


The present research is meant to find out some of the factors that influence the Ecuadorian Highest Courts decisions in environmental cases. For answering my research question I analyzed these decisions, from 1998 to 2014, which constitutes the whole population of the decisions in environmental cases. For the Capstone, I focused in oil and mining cases. The research required three steps. First was to collect data from the corps of decisions in the national Court cases. Second, was to design a database: create variables and a codebook to organize them. Third, was to develop an analysis model using this data and investigate whether there are causal or correlations between the variables. I build the model with one dependable variable that summarized the case results (Variable: decision). The findings showed not only correlations between the independent variables such as the subject that tried to enforce the environmental rights, but also causation between a ‘pro environment decision’ (hereafter PER) or an ‘against environment decision’ (hereafter AER) and the topic that was discussed.