Policy Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 43–65 | Cite as

Going beyond technocratic and democratic principles: stakeholder acceptance of instruments in Swiss energy policy

  • Lorenz KammermannEmail author
  • Karin Ingold
Research Article


This paper is about stakeholders’ acceptance regarding regulatory instruments in energy policy. We expect that today’s introduced instruments not only correspond most to technocratic principles and what elected officials prefer, but that they correlate with the preferences of a wider number of public and private actors in policymaking. We therefore compare the already introduced policy instruments to instrument preferences of the public administration, elected officials, but also NGOs and utilities. In doing so, we contribute to the question of whether or not the instruments already introduced today correspond to technocratic or democratic principles, or to the preferences of the larger governance arrangement involving other public and private actors. We compare three cantons in Switzerland and gather data through a systematic literature review, expert interviews, and surveys. The comparison of the data suggest that the currently selected policy instruments correspond to technocratic principles, but that they also and often correspond to the preferences of public and private actors. More concretely, whereas in one canton, NGO preferences align with the introduced instruments, in another canton, this is the case for utilities. In the third canton, all different actor types display similar preferences very much in accordance with the currently employed instrument mix. We thus conclude that depending on the region, different principles and preferences are reflected in the current policy mix.


Policy design Acceptance Technocracy Democracy Governance Renewable energy policy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Research and TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Political ScienceUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Oeschger Center for Climate ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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