Systematic Review of Recent Social Indicator Efforts in US Coastal and Ocean Ecosystems (2000–2016)

Authors: Victoria C. Ramenzoni and David Yoskowitz
Volume 8, Number 1 (2017)

Massive waves from Hurricane Sandy, 29 October 2012 (photograph by Harrison Group via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0).

Massive waves from Hurricane Sandy, 29 October 2012 (photograph by Harrison Group via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0).


After Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, governmental organizations have placed the development of metrics to quantify social impacts, resilience, and community adaptation at the center of their agendas. Following the premise that social indicators provide valuable information to help decision makers address complex interactions between people and the environment, several interagency groups in the United States have undertaken the task of embedding social metrics into policy and management. While this task has illuminated important opportunities for consolidating social and behavioral disciplines at the core of the federal government, there are still significant risks and challenges as quantification approaches move forward. In this article, we discuss the major rationale underpinning these efforts, as well as the limitations and conflicts encountered in transitioning research to policy and application. We draw from a comprehensive literature review to explore major initiatives in institutional scenarios addressing community well-being, vulnerability, and resilience in coastal and ocean resource management agencies.

is an environmental anthropologist. She was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the NOAA (2014), and a contractor in the Office of Program Planning Information, NOAA (2015). She also served as an executive secretary for the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Social Science, Office of Science and Technology, National Ocean Council, White House (2014–2015).

DAVID YOSKOWITZ’s research and policy work centers on environmental, ecological, and natural resource economics, as well as microeconomic development and border economics. He was NOAA’s chief economist from 2014 to 2015, where he worked in the consolidation of social sciences at the federal level.

Access article on Berghahn Journals