Chapter

When the Dismantling of an Ineffective Policy Becomes Increasingly Costly: Default Strategies, Arena Shifting, and Symbolic Action in German Waste Policy

Dominik Bernauer and Christoph Knill

in Dismantling Public Policy

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656646
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746000 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656646.003.0007
When the Dismantling of an Ineffective Policy Becomes Increasingly Costly: Default Strategies, Arena Shifting, and Symbolic Action in German Waste Policy

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This chapter analyses the persistence of the heavily criticized packaging waste policy in Germany. It is argued that dismantling more or less failed because of three factors. First, concentration of dismantling costs on the recycling industry and very diffuse benefits for the general public as well as growing public acceptance of the system and increasing political support rendered dismantling an unattractive option for the government. Second, and as a result of the first factor, dismantling strategies were selected that were either less visible or not directly associated with the government in office. The latter include incremental dismantling by default, arena-shifting, and symbolic action. Incremental active dismantling occurred only as a result of EU requirements. Third, incremental dismantling activities at the same time relieved some of the problems created by the packaging regulation, and hence contributed to the persistence of this otherwise ineffective policy.

Keywords: policy dismantling; dismantling by default; arena-shifting; symbolic action; environmental policy; waste policy; German Politics

Chapter.  8299 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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