Which environmental problems get policy attention? Examining energy and agricultural sector policies in Sweden
2008 (English)In: Environmental impact assessment review, ISSN 0195-9255, E-ISSN 1873-6432, Vol. 8, no 4-5, 241-255 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Not all environmental problems get the same level of policy attention. An interesting question is thus why certain aspects receive attention and others do not. This paper studies the level of policy attention given to different environmental aspects in agriculture and energy policy in Sweden and explores empirically some factors that can explain the level of attention. The first step was to explore the link between environmental issue characteristics and the level of policy attention. The level of policy attention was measured through a content analysis of Swedish government bills. The results from the content analysis are clear and stable over the studied time period. In the agriculture sector biodiversity and toxicity are in focus whereas in the energy sector climate change and resources are given the attention. Besides these aspects, the attention is limited. These results were compared with the results from sector-wide environmental assessments of the same sectors. These assessments were based on hybrid input-output analysis and life cycle assessment methodologies. A main finding from the study is that issue importance is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for policy attention. Other explanations are needed to understand which environmental issues get attention in sectoral policy. Our assessment showed that while the level of knowledge does not provide an explanation, the presence of strong and well-organised stakeholders within the sector, with an interest in having a certain issue on the agenda, might be decisive for issue attention. Path dependency and limited attention capacity are other important factors.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 8, no 4-5, 241-255 p.
Agriculture, Energy, Environmental systems analysis, Policy attention
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6141DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2007.10.001ISI: 000255579300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-6141DiVA: diva2:10768
Uppdaterad från submitted till published(20110124). Tidigare titel: Characteristics and policy attention of environmental issues in two Swedish sectors - agriculture and energy 2006-09-212006-09-212012-02-16Bibliographically approved