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Coherence, Causality, and Effectiveness of the EU Environmental Policy System: Results of Complementary Statistical and Econometric Analyses

Fabio Zagonari ()
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Fabio Zagonari: Università di Bologna

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2018, vol. 70, issue 1, 1-29

Abstract: Abstract This paper presents the first empirical test of coherence (i.e., consistency of policies within a framework), causality (i.e., logical priority of objectives over policies), and effectiveness (i.e., ability of policies to tackle challenges as defined by objectives) of the overall EU environmental policy system. To do so, I applied complementary statistical (cross-sectional and time series) and econometric (dynamic tri-probit) analyses to an original panel dataset, based on addressed issues (i.e., pollution vs. resource, trans-boundary vs. domestic; flow vs. stock) rather than on implemented policies (i.e., EU legislation aiming at optimal pollution production, optimal resource use, and market competition). It would be impossible to perform similar analyses by referring to realized policies rather than tackled issues due to the unbalanced sample characterizing the former with respect to the latter, as well as due to overlapping objectives, interrelated policies, and non-univocal relationships between objectives and policies. In contrast with previous studies of single EU environmental policies, characteristics of the EU environmental policy, or EU environmental objectives, I found that the overall EU environmental policy system is internally coherent, dynamically causal, and ex ante effective. Moreover, the evidence suggests that many issues are correlated: trans-boundary issues became more relevant in 2012, pollution production was more significant than resource use, and flow issues were more important than stock issues from 1995 to 2010. Finally, I show that few objectives overlapped: a “safe environment” objective (1987–1997) was preferred to a “greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction” objective (2003–2012, but pursued with a 2-year lag), although the latter has recently become preferred to the former. In addition, a “GHG reduction” objective was preferred to “a sustainable development” objective (1998–2002).

Keywords: European Union; Environmental policy; Statistical analyses; Cross-sections; Time-series; Dynamic panel tri-probit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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