Choosing environmental policy instruments : Case studies of municipal waste policy in Sweden and England

Sammanfattning: European governments have during the last couple of decades shown an interest in new types of environmental policy instruments (EPIs) such as environmental taxes, tradable permit schemes and voluntary approaches, as opposed to relying on traditional forms of regulation. The interest in so-called ‘new’ EPIs (NEPIs) has led many governments to commit both to a more diverse EPI mix and to a policy process characterised by procedural rationality, in terms of considering a wide range ofalternative instruments and assessing them in a systematic and transparent way.The first aim of this thesis is to examine the success of the quest for NEPIs at the national level in the field of municipal waste policy in two countries; the UK (England) and Sweden. In addition to mapping out EPI diversity, two contrastingtheories on the pattern of adoption of instruments over time are evaluated, specifically focusing on the degree of coercion associated with EPIs. It is found that the waste policy mix in England has become more diverse, while the Swedish mix ischaracterised by a higher degree of coercion.The second aim is to analyse whether the instrument choice process has become more procedurally rational, and, if so, conducive to the adoption of NEPIs. A range of instrument choice theories at the macro-, meso- and micro-levels drawn from the public policy and political science literature are used to explain whether the ideal of procedural rationality is achievable or not. A case study methodology is used, in which the processes leading to the landfill allowance trading scheme (LATS) in England and and the waste incineration tax in Sweden are studied. It is found that the procedural rationality was higher in the England case, but that it is not a necessary nor sufficient cause for adoption of a NEPI.

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