Institutional complexity traps in policy integration processes: a long-term perspective on Swiss flood risk management

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_29A145CB8813
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Institutional complexity traps in policy integration processes: a long-term perspective on Swiss flood risk management
Journal
Policy Sciences
Author(s)
Bolognesi Thomas, Metz Florence, Nahrath Stéphane
ISSN
0032-2687
1573-0891
Publication state
Published
Issued date
12/2021
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
54
Number
4
Pages
911-941
Language
english
Abstract
Complexity is inherent to the policy processes and to more and more domains such as environment
or social policy. Complexity produces unexpected and counterintuitive effects,
in particular, the phenomenon of policy regimes falling short of expectations while made
by refined policies. This paper addresses this phenomenon by investigating the process of
policy integration and its nonlinearities in the long run. We consider that the increase in
the number of policies unexpectedly impacts the policy coherence within a policy regime.
We argue that, depending on the degree of policy interactions, this impact varies in direction
and intensity over time, which explains nonlinearities in integration. The impact turns
negative when the regime is made of numerous policies, which favors non-coordinated
policy interactions. Finally, the negative impact prevents further integration as stated by the
Institutional Complexity Trap hypothesis and explains the contemporary paradoxical phenomenon
of ineffective policy regimes made of refined policies. Empirically, we draw on a
relational analysis of policies in the Swiss flood risk policy regime from 1848 to 2017. We
study the co-evolution of the number of policies and of their de facto interlinkages, i.e., the
co-regulations of a common issue. Findings support that the Institutional Complexity Trap
is a structural and long-term dynamic punctuated by periods of policy learning and policy
selection. We identify three main phases in the evolution of the regime: the start (1848–
1874), the development (1874–1991), and the Institutional Complexity Trap (since 1991).
Keywords
Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Public Administration, General Social Sciences, Sociology and Political Science, Development
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
26/11/2021 19:57
Last modification date
10/04/2022 6:35
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