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 3: Changing institutional contexts for the use of policy instruments

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


In Chapter 2 we critically examined the policy instruments literature and its most important typologies. At the core of the contemporary instruments debate is the question of how the wider institutional context, in a particular jurisdiction, shapes (and is shaped by) policy instruments. In order to explore this question, Chapter 3 examines the institutional characteristics of four national jurisdictions (namely Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and UK) and the EU. As mentioned in Chapter 2, Hall’s (1993) analysis provides an important bridging role between instruments and institutions because his analysis of policy change captures both policy learning and the important characteristics of state-society relations. In addition to Hall’s (1993) policy change framework, we draw on Richardson’s (1982) policy style concept to better explain the interactions between policy styles and policy instruments in five different jurisdictions. The policy styles concept identifies and explains the interaction between the national government’s approach to problem solving and the relationship between the government and core societal actors (Richard- son, Gustafsson and Jordan, 1982; Richardson and Watts, 1985). Table 3.1 presents the combined elements of this comparative jurisdictional approach. It formulates them as propositions according to the different hypotheses put forward by government and governance hypothesis theories (discussed in Chapters 1 and 2). Accordingly, the third column lays out the scenario that would be expected if the institutional and instrumental elements reflect more traditional notions of command-and-control governmental steering. The fourth column proposes the kind of interactions that would exist in a more ideal-type governance scenario.

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