Single Policy Study: Three Variations in Design

  • Annica Kronsell
  • Ian Manners
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


Single policy studies are the most common form of EU research. They are widely used to understand the role of the EU in a wide variety of sectors, together with its development over time, and often offer public policy prescriptions. The main aim of this chapter is to discuss the relevance of single policy studies in EU research and give examples of how such research can be carried out and designed. It begins by discussing single policy studies in terms of their potential, but also their weakness and limitations. One clear advantage is that a single policy study entails a choice of method that is not associated with a specific perspective, framework or theory but can be used broadly, for example within rationalist, process oriented, constructivist and critical frameworks (Bacchi, 1999; Hajer and Wagenaar, 2003; Sabatier, 2007). It is not locked into or associated with a specific perspective or theory. After a brief presentation and problematisation of the single policy study as a method in EU research, the chapter will review three different research designs that study different single policies: EU environmental policy, the biofuels directive and the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The examples are illustrative of how policy study can be designed using three different theoretical approaches in the analysis: multiple streams approach to policy making, comparative hypothesis testing and feminist institutional theory. While there are multiple ways to design a policy study, how it is done is determined by the research question, the perspective and the theoretical approach employed.


Policy Study Qualitative Comparative Analysis Veto Player Single Policy Policy Convergence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersen, M. and Liefferink, D. (eds.) (1999) European Environmental Policy: The Pioneers (Manchester: Manchester University Press).Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, S. and Eliassen, K. (eds.) (1993) Making Policy in Europe: The Europeification of National Policy-Making (London: Sage Publications).Google Scholar
  3. Bacchi, C.L. (1999) Women, Policy and Politics: The Construction of Policy Problems (London: Sage).Google Scholar
  4. Blackmore, J. and Lauder, H. (2011) ‘Researching Policy’, in Somekh, B. and Lewin, C. (eds.) Theory and Methods in Social Research, 2nd edn. (London: Sage).Google Scholar
  5. Börzel, T. (1999) ‘Toward Convergence in Europe?’, Journal of Common Market Studies 39(4): 573–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Börzel, T. (2002) ‘Pace-Setting, Foot-Dragging, and Fence-Sitting: Member State Responses to Europeanization’, Journal of Common Market Studies 40(2): 193–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Börzel, T. (2003) Environmental Leaders and Laggards in Europe: Why There Is (Not) a ‘Southern Problem’ (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing).Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, M., March, J. and Olsen, J. (1972) ‘Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice’, Administrative Science Quarterly 17(1): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Colebatch, H. (1998) Policy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).Google Scholar
  10. Connell, R. (1995) Masculinities (Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  11. Connell, R. (1998) ‘Masculinities and Globalization’, Men and Masculinities 1(1): 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Di Lucia, L. and Kronsell, A. (2010) ‘The Willing, the Unwilling and the Unable — Explaining Implementation of the EU Biofuels Directive’, Journal of European Public Policy 17(4): 545–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falkner, G. (2000) ‘Policy Networks in a Multi-Level System: Convergence Towards Moderate Diversity?’, West European Politics 23(4): 94–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Falkner, G., Treib, O., Hartlapp, M. and Leiber, S. (2005) Complying With Europe? The Impact of EU Minimum Harmonisation and Soft Law in the Member States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Green Cowles, M., Caporaso, J. and Risse, T. (2001) Transforming Europe: Europeanization and Domestic Change (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar
  16. Hajer, M. and Wagenaar, H. (eds.) (2003) Deliberative Policy Analysis. Understanding Governance in the Network Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  17. Hakhverdian, A., van Elsas, E., van der Brug, W. and Kuhn, T. (2013) Euroscepticism and Education: A Longitudinal Study of Twelve EU Member States, 1973–2010, GINI Discussion Paper 92, August 2013 accessed 25 March 2014.
  18. Heichel, S., Pape, J. and Sommerer, T. (2005) ‘Is There Convergence in Convergence Research? An Overview of Empirical Studies on Policy Convergence’, Journal of European Public Policy 12(5): 817–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Henry, G.T. (1990) Practical Sampling (Newbury Park, CA: Sage).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Heritier, A., and Knill, C. (2001) ‘Differential Responses to European Policies: A Comparison’, in Heritier, A., Kerwer, D., Knill, C., Teutsch, C. and Lehmkuhl, D. (eds.) Differential Europe: The European Union Impact on National Policymaking (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield).Google Scholar
  21. Heritier, A., Knill, C. and Mingers, S. (1996) Ringing the Changes in Europe (Berlin: De Gruyer).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heritier, A., Kerwer, D., Knill, C., Teutsch, C. and Lehmkuhl, D. (2001) Differential Europe: The European Union Impact on National Policymaking (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield).Google Scholar
  23. Johansson, K.-M. (ed.) (2002) Sverige i EU (Stockholm: SNS Förlag).Google Scholar
  24. Jordan, A. (2002) The Europeanization of British Environmental Policy. A Departmental Perspective (Basingstoke: Palgrave).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jordan, A. and Adelle, C. (eds.) (2012) Environmental Policy in the EU: Actors, Institutions and Processes, 3rd edn. (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  26. Jordan, A. and Liefferink, D. (eds.) (2004) Environmental Policy in Europe. The Europeanization of National Environmental Policy (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  27. Kantola, J. (2010) Gender and the European Union (Basingstoke: Palgrave).Google Scholar
  28. Kingdon, J. (1984) Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (Boston: Little, Brown).Google Scholar
  29. Knill, C. (1998) ‘European Policies: The Impact of National Administrative Traditions’, Journal of Public Policy 18(1): 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Knill, C. and Lenschow, A. (2005) ‘Compliance, Communication and Competition: Patterns of EU Environmental Policy Making and Their Impact on Policy Convergence’, European Environment 15: 114–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Knudsen, A.-C. L. (2009) Farmers on Welfare: The Making of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar
  32. Kronsell, A. (1997) Greening the European Union: Power Practices, Resistances and Agenda Setting (Lund: Lund University Press).Google Scholar
  33. Kronsell, A. (2002) ‘Can Small States Influence EU Norms? Insights From Sweden’s Participation in the Field of Environmental Politics’, Scandinavian Studies 74(3): 287–304.Google Scholar
  34. Kronsell, A. (2005) ‘Gender, Power and European Integration Theory’, European Journal of Public Policy 12(6): 1022–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kronsell, A. (2012) Gender, Sex and the Postnational Defense (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ladrech, R. (1994) ‘Europeanization of Domestic Politics and Institutions: The Case of France’, Journal of Common Market Studies 32(1): 69–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Laffan, B. (1983) ‘Policy Implementation in the European Community: The European Social Fund as a Case Study’, Journal of Common Market Studies 21(4): 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Liebert, U. (2003a) ‘Gendering Europeanisation: Patterns and Dynamics’, in Liebert, U. (ed.) Gendering Europeanisation (Brussels: PIE-Peter Lang).Google Scholar
  39. Liebert, U. (2003b) ‘Between Diversity and Equality: Analysing Europeanisation’, in Liebert, U. (ed.) Gendering Europeanisation (Brussels: PIE-Peter Lang).Google Scholar
  40. Liefferink, D. and Jordan, A. (2004) ‘Europeanization and Policy Convergence: A Basis for Comparative Analysis’, in Jordan, A. and Liefferink, D. (eds.) Environmental Policy in Europe: The Europeanization of National Environmental Policy (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  41. MacRae, H. (2006) ‘Rescaling Gender Relations: The Influence of European Directives on the German Gender Regime’, Social Politics 13(4): 522–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Magnusdóttir, G.L. (2009) Small States’ Power Resources in EU Negotiations: The Cases of Sweden, Denmark and Finland in the Environmental Policy of the European Union (Reykjavík: University of Iceland, Department of Political Science).Google Scholar
  43. Manners, I. (2000) Substance and Symbolism: An Anatomy of Cooperation in the New Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate).Google Scholar
  44. Manners, I. (2003) ‘European Studies’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies 11(1): 67–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Manners, I. (2013) ‘Europeiska unionen i den globala miljön’, in Bengtsson, R., Manners, I., Persson, H-Å, Gröning, L. and Zetterquis, O. (eds.) Det europeiska projektet: Politik och juridik — historia och framtid (Malmö: Liber AB).Google Scholar
  46. Manners, I. (2014) ‘The Political Psychology of European Integration’, in Capelos, T., Kinnvall, C., Nesbitt-Larking, P. and Dekker, H. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Political Psychology (Basingstoke: Palgrave).Google Scholar
  47. March, J. and Olsen, J. (1989) Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics (New York: The Free Press).Google Scholar
  48. Martinsen, D.S. (2005) ‘The Europeanization of Welfare: The Domestic Impact of Intra-European Social Security’, Journal of Common Market Studies 43(5): 1027–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mastenbroek, E. and van Keulen, M. (2005) ‘Beyond the Goodness of Fit: A Preference Based Account of Europeanization’, in Haverland, M. and Holzhacker, R. (eds.) European Research Reloaded: Cooperation and Integration Among Europeanized States (Deventer: Kluwer).Google Scholar
  50. McGuinness, N. and O’Carroll, C. (2010) ‘Benchmarking Europe’s Lab Benches: How Successful Has the OMC Been in Research Policy?’, Journal of Common Market Studies 48(2): 293–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Meny, Y., Muller, P. and Quermonne, J.-L. (eds.) (1996) Adjusting to Europe: The Impact of the European Union on National Institutions and Policies (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  52. Olsen, J. (2010) Governing Through Institution Building: Institutional Theory and Recent European Experiments in Democratic Organization (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. O’Toole, L. (2000) ‘Research on Policy Implementation: Assessment and Prospects’, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 10(2): 263–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Petõ, A. and Manners, I. (2006) ‘The European Union and the Value of Gender Equality’, in Lucarelli, S. and Manners, I. (eds.) Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  55. Rees, T. (1998) Mainstreaming Equality in the European Union, Education and Training and Labour Market Policies (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  56. Rihoux, B. (2003) ‘Bridging the Gap Between the Qualitative and Quantitative Worlds? A Retrospective and Prospective View on Comparative Analysis’, Field Methods 5(4): 351–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rihoux, B. and Ragin, C.C. (2004) ‘Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA): State of the Art and Prospects’, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, 2–5 September.Google Scholar
  58. Rosamond, B. (2000) Theories of European Integration (Basingstoke. Palgrave).Google Scholar
  59. Sabatier, P. (ed.) (2007) Theories of the Policy Process (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).Google Scholar
  60. Schimmelfennig, F. and Sedelmeier, U. (2002) ‘Theorizing EU Enlargement: Research Focus, Hypotheses, and the State of Research’, Journal of European Public Policy 9(4): 500–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schmidt, V. and Radaelli, C. (2004) ‘Policy Change and Discourse in Europe: Conceptual and Methodological Issues’, West European Politics 27(2): 183–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schneider, C. and Wegemann, C. (2010) ‘Standards of Good Practice in Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Fuzzy-Sets’, Comparative Sociology 9: 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tallberg, J. (2002) ‘Sverige och efterlevnaden av EU:s regelverk’, in Johansson, K.-M. (ed.) Sverige i EU (Stockholm: SNS Förlag).Google Scholar
  64. Tsebelis, G. (1995) ‘Decision Making in Political Systems: Veto Players in Presidentialism, Parliamentarianism, Multicameralism and Multipartyism’, British Journal of Political Science 25: 289–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. van der Vleuten, A. (2012) ‘Gendering the Institutions and Actors of the EU’, in Abels, G. and Mushaben, J.M. (eds.) Gendering the European Union. New Approaches to Old Democratic Deficits (Basingstoke: Palgrave).Google Scholar
  66. Verloo, M. (ed.) (2007) Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality: A Critical Frame Analysis of Gender Policies in Europe (Budapest: Central European University Press).Google Scholar
  67. von Wahl, A. (2005) ‘Liberal, Conservative, Social Democratic, or… European? The European Union as Equal Employment Regime’, Social Politics 12(1): 67–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Webb, C. (1983) ‘Theoretical Perspectives and Problems’, in Wallace, H., Wallace, W. and Webb, C. (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Community, 2nd edn. (Chichester: John Wiley).Google Scholar
  69. Woodward, A. (2003) ‘European Gender Mainstreaming: Promises and Pitfalls of Transformative Policy’, Review of Policy Research 20(1): 65–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Woodward, A. (2008) ‘Too Late for Mainstreaming: The View From Brussels’, European Journal of Social Policy 18(3): 289–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Woodward, A. (2012) ‘From Equal Treatment to Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management’, in Abels, G. and Mushaben, J.M. (eds.) Genderingthe European Union. New Approaches to Old Democratic Deficits (Basingstoke: Palgrave).Google Scholar
  72. Yin, R.K. (2003) Applications of Case Study Research, 2nd edn. (London: Sage).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Annica Kronsell and Ian Manners 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annica Kronsell
  • Ian Manners

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations