Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Amy Gautam, May 2, 2005

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Beginning to work at the Office of Science and Technology

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I'm Susan Abbott Jamieson and I am at, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service headquarters.

Segment Synopsis: Gautam describes how she came to her position at the Office of Science and Technology, and how economics and social sciences gained esteem within that agency throughout the 1990s.

Keywords: National Marine Fisheries Service; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Office of Science and Technology Policy; University of Maryland

Subjects: Budget; Fishery management; Fishery sciences; Social sciences; Universities and colleges--Graduate work

00:07:25 - Selling the social sciences

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Partial Transcript: So, how long did it take, uh, from the beginning of this effort in 1995 until, uh, you achieved some funding...

Segment Synopsis: Gautam goes into further detail on how she was able to incorporate more social science and economic analysis into her agency. According to Gautam, this process consisted mainly of impromptu proposals to regional offices of usable economic data that could potentially credit Gautam and other economists with support and funding.

Keywords: Data collection; Full-time equivalent; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Office of Science and Technology Policy; Surveys

Subjects: Budget; Economics--Methodology; Economics--Research; Social sciences

00:15:01 - Renewal and passage of the Magnuson-Stevens Act

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what year was the, um, Magn--was the, uh, Magnuson Act, MSA, up for renewal?

Segment Synopsis: Gautam recalls the MSA. Though she does appreciate that certain provisions of the legislation require economic analysis of fisheries, she notes that her office had maintained that initiative independently of the bill's passage.

Keywords: Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; National Fisheries Management Service; National Standard 8; Office of Science and Technology Policy; Peter Fricke

Subjects: Economics--Research; Fishery law and legislation; Fishery management; Social sciences

00:18:54 - Building a staff

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Partial Transcript: Could you--was there at any point when, when, uh, Mark had to appear to testify before Congress in support of new money for this?

Segment Synopsis: Gautam describes some of the bureaucratic hurdles she faced in securing a substantial budget for social science research in her department. She also describes some of the thought process she had with her first hires after that budget was approved.

Keywords: Data collection; Department of Commerce; Full-time equivalent; Hiring; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Proposals

Subjects: Budget; Economics--Research; Employee selection; Fishery law and legislation; Lobbying; Social sciences

00:23:08 - Frustrations

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the, uh, frustrating aspects of trying to get this program started?

Segment Synopsis: Gautam discusses her lingering frustration over the state of social science and economics analysis within her agency. She feels that the data and effort put forward by social scientists at NOAA, in spite of the funding increases, has remained undervalued and misunderstood by the majority in the organization.

Keywords: Biologists; Decision making; Full-time equivalent; Oceanographers; Quantitative analysis

Subjects: Budget; Economics; Social sciences

00:28:38 - In retrospect

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Partial Transcript: Uh, if you were, going to, uh, try to start this over again, uh, uh, knowing what you know now...

Segment Synopsis: Gautam discusses how she might have acted to gain more credit for social sciences at NOAA. Essentially, she stresses that providing data and evidence for social scientists' claims is more effective than merely lobbying for more support with nothing to show for it.

Keywords: Data collection; Outreach

Subjects: Budget; Bureaucracy; Economics--Research; Fishery management; Social sciences