Shwom, Rachael

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  • Human Ecology, Sociology, Bloustein School of Planning
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Rachael Shwom is an assistant professor in the Human Ecology department who specializes in climate and society. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology with a specialization in Environmental Science and Policy at Michigan State University in 2008. Her dissertation research focused on how different governmental, business, and environmental organizations sought to influence U.S. policies on appliance energy efficiency over the past three decades.

She is interested in energy efficiency policy because efficiency improvements are often identified as an important and politically feasible step for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. She has also researched formation of public opinions on climate change, social science’s role in enabling decision-makers to act on climate change under uncertainty, and media’s coverage of climate change. In the future, she will continue her research on environmental and energy advocacy organizations and the factors that influence their decisions. She is also interested in the role that production decisions, such as those made by real estate developers and automobile manufacturers, play in changing energy consumption patterns.


Lytle, W., Schelly, C., Shwom, R., Floress, K.  (2021) “Environmental Decision Making Shaped by the Home: Situating Consumption in the Household Context” Human Ecology Review 26:1:141-157.

Rasmussen, DJ., Kopp, R., Shwom, R. and Oppenheimer, M. (2021)  The political complexity of coastal flood risk reduction: lessons for climate adaptation public works in the US.  Earths Future. 9:2.

Dietz, T., Shwom, R. L., & Whitley, C. T. (2020). Climate Change and Society. Annual Review of Sociology, 46.

Orlove, B., Shwom, R., Markowitz, E., & Cheong, S. M. (2020). Climate Decision-Making. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 45.

Berman, H., Shwom, R., and Cuite, C. (2019) “Becoming FEW Conscious: A Conceptual Typology of Household Behavior Change Interventions Targeting the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Nexus” Sustainability 11:18:5034

Shwom, R. and Robert E. Kopp.(2019) “Long-term risk governance: when do societies act before crisis?.” Journal of Risk Research (2019): 1-17.

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