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Development of the environmental taxes and charges system in Estonia: international convergence mechanisms and local factors

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It is often claimed that the development of new policy areas (e.g. environmental policy, innovation policy) in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries was initiated and influenced by international events and organizations (e.g. the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations) in the 1990s when these countries became independent and opened up to the Western world. This article seeks to clarify the importance and role of exogenous and endogenous explanatory factors in the adoption and development of new policy instruments (NPIs). This article proposes an adjusted theoretical framework of convergence mechanisms and a brief systemized overview of local factors to analyze and explain to what extent international factors influenced the development process of new fiscal instruments in practice in CEE countries with the example of the establishment of the environmental taxes and charges system in Estonia. Based on qualitative interviews with Estonian environmental policy experts as well as law and document analysis, this article concludes that the Estonian case study highlights the significance of policy learning, harmonization, and coercive imposition but most apparently, and contrary to common belief, different domestic factors have played a more essential role in shaping the NPIs.
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Keywords: CEE countries; international convergence mechanisms; local factors; spread and development of new policy instruments (environmental taxes and charges system)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Akadeemia Street 3, Tallinn, 12618, Estonia

Publication date: July 4, 2014

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