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Can policy-packaging increase public support for costly policies? Insights from a choice experiment on policies against vehicle emissions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 July 2019

Michael Wicki
ETH Zurich Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) and International Relations (CIS), Switzerland E-mail:
Robert Alexander Huber
Department of Political Science and Sociology, University of Salzburg, Austria E-mail:
Thomas Bernauer
ETH Zurich, Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) and International Relations (CIS), Switzerland Email:


Public support is usually a precondition for the adoption and successful implementation of costly policies. We argue that such support is easier to achieve with policy-packages that incorporate primary and ancillary measures. We specifically distinguish command-and-control and market-based measures as primary measures and argue that the former will usually garner more public support than the latter given the low-visibility tendency of costs associated with command-and-control measures. Nevertheless, if included in a policy-package, ancillary measures are likely to increase public support by reducing negative effects of primary measures. Based on a choice experiment with a representative sample of 2,034 Swiss citizens, we assessed these arguments with respect to political efforts to reduce vehicle emissions. The empirical analysis supported the argument that policy-packaging affects public support positively, particularly generating more support when ancillary measures are added. Lastly, we ultimately observe that command-and-control measures obtain more public support than market-based instruments.

Research Article
© Cambridge University Press 2019

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