Public Lecture Prof. Dr. Thomas Bernauer

  • 9/20/19 4:30 PM
  • Kirsten Oswald

In Search for Politically Feasible Policy-Packages for Sustainable Transport

20 September 2019 at 16.30

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Thomas Bernauer ETH Zurich, Departement of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences
Moderator: Christian Bach
Venue: Empa, Dübendorf, Theodor-Erismann-Auditorium, VE102

Abstract: The main obstacle to making the transportation sector ecologically more sustainable is political feasibility. To that end effective policy‐interventions usually encounter strong public opposition because they interfere in costly ways with people’s daily lives, suggesting a dilemma between political feasibility and environmental policy effectiveness. Specifically, the existing literature on attitudes towards different policy instrument types argues that so‐called push measures are less accepted by citizens than pull measures, and that market‐based instruments tend to be less accepted than non‐market instruments. However, whether these findings uphold when considering policy‐packages rather than single policy instruments, that is, simultaneously implemented policy‐interventions consisting of several policy instruments, remains unclear. Based on choice experiments with representative samples of citizens from China, Germany, and the USA (N=4’876) we seek to identify politically feasible and effective policy‐packages aimed at greening the transportation sector. Contrary to existing literature, we find that public support does not necessarily depend on the instrument type but rather on specific policy design and is highly context dependent. In addition, despite significant differences between the three country contexts considered, various combinations of policy measures appear potentially effective and acceptable to most citizens. These results suggest that carefully bundled policy‐packages allow governments to also use instruments that would not be politically feasible if introduced in isolation.

Thomas Bernauer is a professor of political science at ETH Zurich and director of ETH Zurich’s Institute of Science, Technology and Policy:
The language of the presentation is English, entrance is free, guests are welcome.

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