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Explaining Success and Failure in Climate Policies: Developing Theory through German Case Studies

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Theories of environmental outcomes have been developed mostly through large-N cross-national studies, which have a structuralist bias and rely heavily on correlations. Structured, focused case studies can help overcome those limitations by incorporating political processes and identifying causal mechanisms. Climate policy outcomes in Germany vary greatly across policy areas such as emissions target setting, the economic transformation of eastern Germany, renewable energy, ecological tax reform, voluntary agreements with industry, emissions trading, and unregulated increases in the consumption of household heating, transportation, and electricity. Comparative analysis of nine case studies indicates that environmental outcome theories should more fully include external focusing events, advocacy coalition formation, multiple paths of influence for green parties, and the negative effects of neocorporatism and unregulated technological change and consumption.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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