Research colloquia of the Environmental Policy Group

The ENP group has a series of colloquia in which a staff member of the ENP group, a PhD student or a visitor exchanges his/her work with the audience.

The aims of this series of colloquia are:
- to enhance the exchange of ideas between researchers;
- to offer MSc students the possibility to attend and participate in academic debates about (scientific) work in progress;
- to provide the lecturer with feedback and comments.

Please feel welcome to join us for the next ENP research colloquium where Peter Rudberg will give a presentation entitled:

Environmental policy implementation through learning: insights from river restoration and adaptation of urban water services

Date 5 September
Time 11:00-12:00
Room C68 (Leeuwenborch)

Presentation: Peter Rudberg is an external PhD candidate with the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden, and the Environmental Policy Group. His research focuses on environmental policy implementation and learning in water governance with a main focus on river restoration in relation to hydropower production and climate change adaptation of urban water services. His main interest lies in exploring to what extent and under what circumstances different forms of learning (social and organizational learning) provide a viable alternative to more hierarchical forms of environmental policy implementation.


There is evidence on an EU level that an identified “implementation gap” of environmental policies has been connected to classic forms of hierarchical regulation and intervention and that there has been a shift towards more market and network governance modes to further the implementation of EU environmental policies. This thesis contends that it is still an open question to what extent and under what conditions market and network modes of governance enhance the implementation of environmental policies compared to hierarchical modes of governance. Given this context, this thesis analyzes learning – an integral part of network modes of governance – and attempts to investigate to what extent, and under what circumstances it constitutes an effective alternative to hierarchical forms of governance. The effectiveness of learning and hierarchical policy instruments are evaluated in four cases of water governance by comparing ex-ante policy expectations with policy outcomes - the changes induced by the policy instruments on the target groups of the policy. The level of ambiguity and conflict related to the policy, as well as existing institutions (legislation), are treated as key variables of implementation and the thesis tests to what extent they can explain for varying implementation effectiveness of learning and hierarchy policy instruments in the examined cases. The thesis uses a general conflict ambiguity model of policy implementation (created by Matland 1995) as well as the concepts of “shadow hierarchy” and “stakeholder interdependence” to explore the extent the thesis cases provide a basis for generalizations of the effectiveness of learning, compared to hierarchy, as a form of environmental policy implementation more broadly.