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Keynote
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of
climate policy acceptability
Presentation by Dirk Arne Heyen (Öko-Institut), based on a Working Paper with Michael
Wicki (ETH Zurich)
Expert webinar, 20th March 2023
4
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1) Background & motivation
● Climate goals need more ambitious policies incl. push measures
‒ Push measures = pricing instruments & regulations
● Proposals for push measures often meet with low public acceptability
‒ Acceptability = an affirmative attitude towards a policy proposal
● Public acceptability is important for political action
 We need to know how to increase the public acceptability of
necessary / reasonable push measures
● Current knowledge is insufficient
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
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2) Focus & shortcomings of existing research
● Many studies…
‒ investigate factors (e.g., socio-demographics, personal values & beliefs)
that explain relatively stable differences in climate policy support between
different groups of people (and countries)  hardly politically influenceable
‒ compare acceptability of different instruments  does not help much for
improving acceptability of a specific instrument
‒ investigate people’s perceptions of instrument effectiveness and fairness
but not what determines these beliefs  unclear lessons for policy-making
● Less research on politically influenceable factors like policy-design or
other government-action options, and if so often investigating…
‒ multiple factors within a single case  limiting generalization
‒ or one kind of factor (and its different manifestations) across cases 
leaving its relative importance compared to other factors unclear
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
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3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors
 more & better research needed on politically influenceable factors:
● Policy instrument: design & packaging
● Temporal aspects: timing, sequencing, and trial runs
● Actor involvement: participation & coalition-building
● Communication: information & framing
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
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3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors
a) Policy instrument: design & packaging
Researching the acceptability effect of…
● different instrument design features
‒ good knowledge on carbon pricing but little knowledge on other measures
● ancillary measures & different policy packages
‒ some knowledge
● different justice principles applied in policy design
‒ little knowledge
● policy learning and diffusion
‒ little knowledge
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
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3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors
b) Time: timing, sequencing, and trial runs
Researching the acceptability effect of…
● the temporal context (timing) of the policy proposal
‒ limited (empirical) knowledge
● policy sequencing (increasing stringency over time)
‒ little (no?) knowledge
● announcement and/or execution of trial runs (policy experiments)
‒ limited (empirical) knowledge
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
9
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3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors
c) Actor involvement: participation & coalition-building
Researching the acceptability effect of…
● citizen participation in political decision-making (acceptability
effect among the general public and among those participating)
‒ some knowledge (little compared to participation in infrastructure planning)
● inclusion of experts, stakeholders, social movements, and/or
opposition parties in political decision-making
‒ little (empirical) knowledge
● building advocacy coalitions in favor of a policy instrument
‒ little (empirical) knowledge
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
10
www.oeko.de
3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors
d) Communication: information & framing
Researching the acceptability effect of…
● additional information on the policy problem or on the policy
measure and its effects
‒ mixed evidence
● different frames of a policy instrument, and their effect compared to
counter-frames
‒ mixed evidence on positive (co-benefit) frames
‒ little knowledge on counter-frames / argumentative competition
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
11
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4) How can we (better) study these factors?
● Survey experiments, systematically varying (polit. influenceable) items
● Longitudinal panel surveys (experiments) to study temporal effects
● Mixed method approaches including qualitative case-studies, focus
groups and transdisciplinary approaches
● Multi-factor analysis focusing on the causal relation between different
factors, their interlinkages as well as their relative importance
● Comparative multi-case & meta studies with different spatial, sectoral
or temporal contexts to better understand the contextual boundaries
● Appropriate methods (simulation games perhaps?) to better account
for real-world discourses with competing arguments!?
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
12
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5) Conclusion & discussion
● Concluding remarks:
‒ Evidence that governments can positively influence the acceptability of
climate policy instruments (to a certain degree), including push measures
‒ But we need a more robust evidence base, empirically & methodologically
● Questions for discussion:
‒ Do you agree with our assessment of the research status quo?
‒ Have we overseen relevant research (strands)?
‒ Do you see other/further research needs (issues & methods)?
Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
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Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
Contacts
Dirk Arne Heyen
Senior Researcher
Oeko-Institut e.V.
Borkumstraße 2
13189 Berlin
Germany
Phone: +49 30 405085-356
E-Mail: d.heyen@oeko.de
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DAHeyen
ResearchGate:
www.researchgate.net/profile/Dirk_Heyen
Dr. Michael Wicki
Post-Doc Researcher
ETH Zürich
Raumentwicklung und Stadtpolitik
HIL H 31.2
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5
8093 Zürich
Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 633 39 56
E-Mail: wimi@ethz.ch

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Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability

  • 1. www.oeko.de Keynote Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability Presentation by Dirk Arne Heyen (Öko-Institut), based on a Working Paper with Michael Wicki (ETH Zurich) Expert webinar, 20th March 2023
  • 2. 4 www.oeko.de 1) Background & motivation ● Climate goals need more ambitious policies incl. push measures ‒ Push measures = pricing instruments & regulations ● Proposals for push measures often meet with low public acceptability ‒ Acceptability = an affirmative attitude towards a policy proposal ● Public acceptability is important for political action  We need to know how to increase the public acceptability of necessary / reasonable push measures ● Current knowledge is insufficient Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 3. 5 www.oeko.de 2) Focus & shortcomings of existing research ● Many studies… ‒ investigate factors (e.g., socio-demographics, personal values & beliefs) that explain relatively stable differences in climate policy support between different groups of people (and countries)  hardly politically influenceable ‒ compare acceptability of different instruments  does not help much for improving acceptability of a specific instrument ‒ investigate people’s perceptions of instrument effectiveness and fairness but not what determines these beliefs  unclear lessons for policy-making ● Less research on politically influenceable factors like policy-design or other government-action options, and if so often investigating… ‒ multiple factors within a single case  limiting generalization ‒ or one kind of factor (and its different manifestations) across cases  leaving its relative importance compared to other factors unclear Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 4. 6 www.oeko.de 3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors  more & better research needed on politically influenceable factors: ● Policy instrument: design & packaging ● Temporal aspects: timing, sequencing, and trial runs ● Actor involvement: participation & coalition-building ● Communication: information & framing Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 5. 7 www.oeko.de 3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors a) Policy instrument: design & packaging Researching the acceptability effect of… ● different instrument design features ‒ good knowledge on carbon pricing but little knowledge on other measures ● ancillary measures & different policy packages ‒ some knowledge ● different justice principles applied in policy design ‒ little knowledge ● policy learning and diffusion ‒ little knowledge Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 6. 8 www.oeko.de 3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors b) Time: timing, sequencing, and trial runs Researching the acceptability effect of… ● the temporal context (timing) of the policy proposal ‒ limited (empirical) knowledge ● policy sequencing (increasing stringency over time) ‒ little (no?) knowledge ● announcement and/or execution of trial runs (policy experiments) ‒ limited (empirical) knowledge Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 7. 9 www.oeko.de 3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors c) Actor involvement: participation & coalition-building Researching the acceptability effect of… ● citizen participation in political decision-making (acceptability effect among the general public and among those participating) ‒ some knowledge (little compared to participation in infrastructure planning) ● inclusion of experts, stakeholders, social movements, and/or opposition parties in political decision-making ‒ little (empirical) knowledge ● building advocacy coalitions in favor of a policy instrument ‒ little (empirical) knowledge Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 8. 10 www.oeko.de 3) Research needs on politically influenceable factors d) Communication: information & framing Researching the acceptability effect of… ● additional information on the policy problem or on the policy measure and its effects ‒ mixed evidence ● different frames of a policy instrument, and their effect compared to counter-frames ‒ mixed evidence on positive (co-benefit) frames ‒ little knowledge on counter-frames / argumentative competition Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 9. 11 www.oeko.de 4) How can we (better) study these factors? ● Survey experiments, systematically varying (polit. influenceable) items ● Longitudinal panel surveys (experiments) to study temporal effects ● Mixed method approaches including qualitative case-studies, focus groups and transdisciplinary approaches ● Multi-factor analysis focusing on the causal relation between different factors, their interlinkages as well as their relative importance ● Comparative multi-case & meta studies with different spatial, sectoral or temporal contexts to better understand the contextual boundaries ● Appropriate methods (simulation games perhaps?) to better account for real-world discourses with competing arguments!? Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 10. 12 www.oeko.de 5) Conclusion & discussion ● Concluding remarks: ‒ Evidence that governments can positively influence the acceptability of climate policy instruments (to a certain degree), including push measures ‒ But we need a more robust evidence base, empirically & methodologically ● Questions for discussion: ‒ Do you agree with our assessment of the research status quo? ‒ Have we overseen relevant research (strands)? ‒ Do you see other/further research needs (issues & methods)? Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability
  • 11. 13 www.oeko.de Research needs around politically influenceable factors of climate policy acceptability Contacts Dirk Arne Heyen Senior Researcher Oeko-Institut e.V. Borkumstraße 2 13189 Berlin Germany Phone: +49 30 405085-356 E-Mail: d.heyen@oeko.de Twitter: https://twitter.com/DAHeyen ResearchGate: www.researchgate.net/profile/Dirk_Heyen Dr. Michael Wicki Post-Doc Researcher ETH Zürich Raumentwicklung und Stadtpolitik HIL H 31.2 Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5 8093 Zürich Switzerland Phone: +41 44 633 39 56 E-Mail: wimi@ethz.ch