Environmental Governance in Europe

Environmental Governance in Europe

A Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instruments

Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel, Anthony R. Zito and Andrew J. Jordan

European governance has witnessed dramatic changes in recent decades. By assessing the use of ‘new’ environmental policy instruments in European Union countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, this timely book analyses whether traditional forms of top-down government have given way to less hierarchical governance instruments, which rely strongly on societal self-steering and/or market forces. The authors provide important new theoretical insights as well as fresh empirical detail on why, and in what form, these instruments are being adopted within and across different levels of governance, along with analysis of the often-overlooked interactions between the instrument types.

Chapter 2: Governing by policy instruments: theories and analytical concepts

Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel, Anthony R. Zito and Andrew J. Jordan

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy, public policy


This book investigates the extent to which environmental policy has undergone a transformation from (traditional tools of) government towards (new instruments of) governance. Although much of the general governance literature claims that there has been a decisive shift from traditional government (namely, command-and-control regulations) towards new modes of governance (for example, Rhodes, 1996), many of the more empirically minded NEPIs studies have argued that traditional regulation has not disappeared but simply become ‘smarter’ (for example, Gunningham, Grabosky and Sinclair, 1998). However, very few NEPIs studies have tried to systematically assess the wider political and governing implications of this alleged shift (for exceptions, see Bähr, 2010; Holzinger, Knill and Lenschow, 2009; Jänicke and Jörgens, 2004; Jordan, Wurzel and Zito, 2003a, 2005, 2007, 2012b). The rest of our argument unfolds as follows. Chapter 2 starts with an explanation of the typology of environmental policy instruments used in this book. We then turn to broader public policy approaches to under- stand the underlying forces behind the selection and use of policy instruments at the EU and member state level. The next section explores the core elements and arguments of the mainly historical institutionalist approach which provides the central theoretical focus for this book. The case is then made for widening the notion of policy change found in institutionalist approaches with more exogenous forms of learning, including notions of policy transfer. Both the policy learning and policy transfer related concepts seek to enrich the book’s cross-temporal, cross-territorial and multi-level approach to policy (instrument) change.

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