Understanding renewable energy policy adoption and evolution in Europe: The impact of coercion, normative emulation, competition, and learning

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This article explores the diffusion of renewable energy policies across nation-states of Europe. In doing so, alternative models of diffusion processes are compared to understand the role of coercion, emulation, competition and learning. Going beyond the traditional analysis of individual policies, this paper explains the adoption of five groups of renewable energy policies. It proceeds by estimating logit event history analysis and stratified Cox conditional gap time models for first time and subsequent policy adoptions for 30 European countries from 1990 to 2012. The findings suggest that the impact of external forces varies across policy instrument groups and along the policy development timeline. Initial renewable energy policy adoptions are mainly driven by EU coercive power, competition pressure from economic peers and policy learning from intergovernmental organizations, while subsequent policy evolution is more heavily influenced by EU coercion and regional emulation. Thus, we specify the causal mechanisms of EU energy policy convergence and coalescence.

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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.12.011

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Energy Research & Social Science