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Kolcava, Dennis; Rudolph, Lukas and Bernauer, Thomas (2021): Citizen preferences on private-public co-regulation in environmental governance: Evidence from Switzerland. In: Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions, Vol. 68, 102226

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Environmental policy is touching on ever more aspects of corporate and individual behavior, and there is much debate over what combinations of top-down (government-imposed) and bottom-up (voluntary private sector) measures to use. In democratic societies, citizens' preferences over such combinations are crucial because they shape the political mandates based on which policymakers act. We argue that policy designs that involve privatepublic co-regulation receive more citizen support if they are based on inclusive decision-making, use strong transparency and monitoring mechanisms, and include a trigger for government intervention in case of ineffectiveness. Survey experiments in Switzerland (N = 1941) provide strong support for these arguments. Our research demonstrates that differences in co-regulation design have major implications for public support. Another key finding is that there seems to be a contradiction between inclusiveness and democratic accountability for policy outcomes. The findings are surprisingly consistent across two very different green economy issues we focus on empirically (decarbonization of finance, pesticides). This suggests that our study design offers a useful template for research that explores public opinion on green economy policy designs for other issues and in other countries.

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