Environmental policy evaluation in the service of sustainable development: influence of the OECD Environmental Performance Reviews from the perspective of institutional economics

Lehtonen, Markku (2005) Environmental policy evaluation in the service of sustainable development: influence of the OECD Environmental Performance Reviews from the perspective of institutional economics. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

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Abstract

This thesis examines what consequences, through which pathways, and under which circumstances, does country-level environmental policy evaluation, carried out by an intergovernmental organisation, have for institutional change towards sustainable development. The philosophical and theoretical frameworks of institutional economics are proposed as the lens through which to assess experiences from evaluation research. This is done in order to elaborate a conceptual framework for analysing the approach, the impact and the factors conditioning the influence of environmental policy evaluation in the context of sustainable development. The OECD Environmental Performance Review programme is examined through an in-depth qualitative case study approach. It is found that in spite of engendering relatively modest interest among the public, the reviews increase the legitimacy of environmental policies and authorities, and strengthen a performance-oriented environmental policy emphasising evaluation, monitoring and cost-effectiveness. These impacts operate through four parallel pathways, representing the purposes of learning and accountability. The type and intensity of influence depends on the capacity of the reviews to mobilise key change agents and to be sensitive to the context, as well as on the credibility and political weight of the OECD in the reviewed country. It is concluded that notwithstanding the distance of the prevailing OECD conception of sustainability from the institutionalist principles adopted as the benchmark for the appraisal in this thesis, the reviews contribute meaningfully to sustainable development by redressing asymmetries of power, thereby improving some of the conditions for deliberative democracy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: PhD thesis; accepted and defended 29 November 2005.
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Markku Lehtonen
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2012 05:58
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015 10:20
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/43379

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