Research Program "Institutions and the Environment"

Research Program „Institutions and the Environment“

Headed by:
Prof. Dr. Annette Elisabeth Töller
Project Status:
2020-2022 or 2023 (application phase, then project phase)

Research program within the research cluster „Energy, Environment and Sustainability“ (German)

Program Outline

Activities in environmental policy as well as the resulting environmental quality depend to a large extent on the institutional framework (understood as decision-making competencies and procedures). The creation or change of such institutions is usually associated with certain expectations, e.g., that they will improve environmental quality or increase the legitimacy and acceptance of decisions. Actual effects, however, may diverge significantly from expectations. The question of how institutions actually affect (environmental) policy and ultimately environmental quality is at the heart of environmental policy research in political science. This research program – through its various projects – aims to gain a better understanding of how institutions affect environmental policy and environmental quality – regarding both causal mechanisms and outcomes. The program consists of a series of loosely linked, externally funded research projects that fit within this thematic framework. In terms of content, it addresses both crucial and current issues of energy and environmental policy:

1. the faltering expansion of wind energy capacity as part of the energy transition process,

2. the waste prevention policies in German municipalities, and

3. the right of environmental associations to file lawsuits and its effects.

After systematizing a phenomenon, political science research is always interested in a causal explanation. Starting from a focus on political science, the individual topics will be addressed by building an international network with colleagues from other disciplines as well as through interdisciplinary cooperation with colleagues from cognate fields, e.g., psychology, law, and economics. In some projects, planned networking activities extend to practitioners.

Hanno Hahn | 12.07.2022