The Hard Case for Learning: Explaining the Diversity of Swiss Tobacco Advertisement Bans

Künzler, Johanna (2018). The Hard Case for Learning: Explaining the Diversity of Swiss Tobacco Advertisement Bans. In: Dunlop, Claire A.; Radaelli, Claudio M.; Trein, Philipp (eds.) Learning in Public Policy. Analysis, Modes and Outcomes. International Series on Public Policy (pp. 267-294). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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Tobacco prevention is a hard case for policy learning. Despite clear evidence about the damaging effects on health since the 1930s, smoking prevalence remains high. Thus, what are the conditions under which we can observe diffusion of tobacco bans? The subnational units of Switzerland constitute an ideal-typical representation of the patchwork we see in global tobacco prevention. In the absence of national guidelines, some cantons have started introducing their own instruments, while others have remained largely passive. To explain this process, I combine the learning approach with the Multiple Streams Framework to examine tobacco advertising bans. The merging of these theories allows for a deeper understanding of different mechanisms promoting or hindering learning, while controlling for the role of context. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is a suitable method to put this theoretical approach into practice. While a variety of factor-combinations account for the adoption or rejection of the tobacco advertisement bans, the decisive roles of private interest groups and the specific form of the proposed bans stand out. Even though a generalization of the findings may be difficult due to the peculiarities of the Swiss system, in the conclusion I reflect on how policy-makers, activists and lobbyists can use the findings about different macro-level characteristics and possible interaction-effects when they want to introduce new legislation in a political system against resilient and vested interests.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


11 Centers of Competence > Center of Comptetence for Public Management (KPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Künzler, Johanna


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 350 Public administration & military science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




International Series on Public Policy


Palgrave Macmillan




Johanna Künzler

Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2019 12:24

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2019 12:24


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