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The Political Economy of Energy Policy: Stakeholder versus Voter Preferences in Political Decision-Making Processes

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability in Geographic Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020) | Viewed by 6257

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel, Peter-Merian-Weg 6, CH - 4002 Basel, Switzerland
Interests: Political Methodology; International Political Economy; Energy Politics; Climate Politics; Policy Communication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The role of the energy sector both as a source of and a solution for climate change has become increasingly salient in the past decades; yet, there are many political-economic challenges to the adoption and implementation of new energy policies/technologies both domestically and internationally. Against this background, we have seen a surge of studies on the political economy of energy policy. Many of these studies have empirically identified sources of public acceptance of energy policies, technologies, and decision-making processes to adopt such policies and technologies. At the same time, there is another important and influential set of actors in policy-making, so-called energy stakeholders; i.e., actors that represent group interests, such as interest groups, energy companies, NGOs, local governments, etc. From game-theoretic analyses of lobbying activities to empirical analyses of stakeholder influence on policy-making, we have seen a number of contributions in this area as well.

However, in reality, neither public acceptance (or the median voter preference over policy/technology proposals) nor direct influences of powerful stakeholders alone can be the single determinant of national or international political decisions. Building on existing studies, it is time to bring the two actors back in and revisit the source of policy and technology adoption more holistically. This Special Issue welcomes studies that address relative roles of voters and stakeholders in national and international political decision-making processes. This question becomes particularly relevant when the average public sentiment and the policy preference of powerful stakeholders are in conflict. The Special Issue welcomes not only empirical analyses, but also formal theoretical models and conceptual frameworks that derive empirically testable hypotheses.

Prof. Dr. Aya Kachi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Energy policy
  • Energy transition
  • Stakeholders
  • Lobbying
  • Public acceptance
  • Social acceptance
  • Political economy
  • Formal theory
  • Empirical analysis

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 2078 KiB  
Article
Coalitions Towards the Carbon Tax in the Swedish Heating Sector
by Cecilia Higa, Marcelo Cunha and Semida Silveira
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8530; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208530 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3245
Abstract
The carbon tax is a cornerstone of the climate policy in Sweden. Historically, it has played a central role in the replacement of fossil fuels in the heating sector. The purpose of this paper was to analyze the policy-making process that led to [...] Read more.
The carbon tax is a cornerstone of the climate policy in Sweden. Historically, it has played a central role in the replacement of fossil fuels in the heating sector. The purpose of this paper was to analyze the policy-making process that led to the formulation and adoption of the carbon tax in the Swedish heating sector, from 1980 to 1991. We used the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), according to which policy actors form coalitions based on shared beliefs. Drawing from both literature and empirical experiences gathered through in-depth interviews, we identified supporting and opposing coalitions that diverged in their views concerning bioenergy development and the potential impact of the carbon tax. This study illustrates the complex conditions for introduction of environmental taxes and expansion of new industries, particularly when established businesses perceive the new activities as a threat. The Swedish experience shows that countries can progress by exploring internal synergies and innovative policy designs, despite potential resistance of established constituencies. The successful adoption of the carbon tax in the Swedish heating sector serves as inspiration for policymakers in other sectors and countries, as they contemplate policies to promote the decarbonization of the energy system. Full article
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19 pages, 2006 KiB  
Article
Ideology as Filter: Motivated Information Processing and Decision-Making in the Energy Domain
by Ulf J. J. Hahnel, Christian Mumenthaler, Tobia Spampatti and Tobias Brosch
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8429; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208429 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2608
Abstract
The transition towards more renewable energy will substantially increase voters’ involvement in the political decision-making process in the energy domain. Decisions such as whether to approve or reject large-scale energy programs can be complex, especially when available information cues are numerous and conflicting. [...] Read more.
The transition towards more renewable energy will substantially increase voters’ involvement in the political decision-making process in the energy domain. Decisions such as whether to approve or reject large-scale energy programs can be complex, especially when available information cues are numerous and conflicting. Here, we hypothesize that political ideology is a strong determinant in this process, serving as a filter that voters apply when evaluating the relevance of provided information cues. We tested this hypothesis in the context of the 2017 Public Vote on the Swiss Energy Act. A sample of n = 931 Swiss voters were presented with arguments in favor or against the Energy Act, which were framed in terms of values found to be relevant for liberal and conservative ideologies, respectively. Political ideology strongly determined individual attitudes and voting preferences. Political ideology moreover moderated the influence of information provision on decisions, in that arguments congruent with voters’ political ideology were more likely to be evaluated as personally relevant and integrated into their decisions. We discuss the implications of our findings for measures on how to address ideology-based decision-making in order to ensure a well-informed electorate. Full article
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