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In the last five chapters, we have presented the RES-E policies of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. For each case, we ended up with the analysis of the policy change (dependent variable) and the test of the hypotheses that we formulated in the theoretical chapter (independent variables). In this chapter, we will not enter into the details of the case studies anymore, as this has been dealt with in the previous chapters, but we will compare the results of the case studies in order to generalise the findings of this research. Firstly, we look at the different types of policy change that occurred in the different countries (policy objective and/or policy instrument) and we observe if the RES-E policies tend to converge or diverge. Secondly, we compare the results of the test of the hypotheses in each country in order to validate/invalidate the hypotheses, and we propose ideas about how to improve our theoretical framework when necessary. Finally, we compare the relevance of the hypothesis in explaining the policy changes in the five countries in order to point out the most significant explanatory factors (necessary factors).

The patterns of policy change differ in the five countries (see table 1). Some, like Belgium and the UK, experienced changes in the policy objective and instrument. In others, like Denmark and the Netherlands, only the policy instrument changed. And finally, in Germany, the policy objective changed but not the policy instrument. According to Peter Hall (Hall, 1993), Belgium and the UK represent cases of third order change (change of the policy objective and instrument), and Denmark and the Netherlands cases of second order change (only change of the policy instrument), but the case of Germany (change of objective without change of instrument) is atypical in Hall's typology. This demonstrates that there is no hierarchical link between the two types of policy change and that the objective of a policy can change while the instrument does not.

However, we observe in the German case that the settings of the instrument can change. So the instrument itself remains the same, but its settings are modified in order to be more adapted to the new policy objective.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2008

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