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Environmental Policy Convergence: The Impact of International Harmonization, Transnational Communication, and Regulatory Competition

  • Katharina Holzinger (a1), Christoph Knill (a2) and Thomas Sommerer (a3)

Abstract

In recent years, there is growing interest in the study of cross-national policy convergence. Yet we still have a limited understanding of the phenomenon: Do we observe convergence of policies at all? Under which conditions can we expect that domestic policies converge or rather develop further apart? In this article, we address this research deficit. From a theoretical perspective, we concentrate on the explanatory power of three factors, namely international harmonization, transnational communication, and regulatory competition. In empirical terms, we analyze if and to what extent we can observe convergence of environmental policies across twenty-four industrialized countries between 1970 and 2000. We find an impressive degree of environmental policy convergence between the countries under investigation. This development is mainly caused by international harmonization and, to a considerable degree, also by transnational communication, whereas regulatory competition does not seem to play a role.

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