Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Stich, Bethany

Committee Member

Goodman, Doug

Committee Member

Stanisevski, Dragan

Committee Member

Emison, Gerald A.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Public Policy & Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Information technologies (IT) have provided significant benefits for society. By drawing on the assumptions of the New Public Management (NPM) framework, the author investigates how, in one case, IT alters the policy implementation process. Additionally, the author tests reinforcement theory, sociotechnical theory, and technological determinism to determine which IT model best explains the utilization of IT at the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). This study examines the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. By conducting interviews, analyzing documents, and examining a physical artifact, the author explores the administration of an economic impact analysis (EIA) that was conducted on the I-269 corridor. Using a quasi-experimental design, the author compared a control EIA with a test EIA that utilized the Regional Economic Modeling Inc. (REMI) software to determine how IT altered the EIA, which is required through NEPA. The control EIA process was conducted by MDOT, and the test EIA was administered by a research team from Mississippi State University (MSU). In this case, the author found that the utilization of IT altered the test EIA. First, the REMI model provided a broader scope and provided more variables and outputs for analysts to observe. Second, the utilization of REMI reduced the time associated with the data collection and analysis of the I-269 corridor. Finally, the author found that the projected economic impacts changed direction. In other words, instead of the construction of I-269 positively affecting the community, region, or state, the REMI model indicated that the construction of the corridor would negatively impact the surrounding areas. Finally, by tracing the utilization of REMI at MDOT, the author determined that reinforcement theory explained the initial adoption and utilization of IT. However, the author discovered the REMI model was not utilized in all EIAs. This finding highlights that MDOT has the discretionary power to adjust the methods utilized to investigate the economic impacts associated with highway projects. Therefore, while NPM promotes the utilization of IT for agencies to achieve objectives and transform bureaucracies, the research highlights a tentative critique of the NPM framework.



Economic Impact Analysis||NEPA||Transportation Policy||Public Administration