Politics of flood risk management in Switzerland: Political feasibility of instrument mixes

Glaus, Anik (2021). Politics of flood risk management in Switzerland: Political feasibility of instrument mixes. Environmental Policy and Governance, 31(5), pp. 492-519. Wiley 10.1002/eet.1940

[img] Text
eet.1940.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (4MB) | Request a copy

Complex environmental problems affect multiple policy sectors, decision-making levels and territories simultaneously and, as such, call for encompassing policy solutions. However, no consensus exists on how encompassing policy solutions are designed. A trade-off persists between single instruments, leading to sectoral “silo” thinking and complex instrument mixes, constituting the risk of not being implemented due to actors' objections. Policy designs, including balanced policy mixes, can fulfil various goals, interests and priorities; address numerous challenges; and involve multiple actors. Such balanced policy mixes, however, can only manage complex environmental problems successfully when supported by actors belonging to different sectors, levels and territories. This study therefore analyses the political feasibility of balanced instrument mixes via actors' policy preferences in the case of Swiss flood risk management. Public and private actors involved in flood risk management are surveyed on their preferred instrument mixes. Based on these preference data, the political feasibility of instrument mixes is evaluated by combining the number (density) and coerciveness (intensity) of instruments with the balance of different instrument types (balance) in an index. Results indicate that actors' preferences for a balanced instrument mix are weak. In particular, actors' roles and sectoral interests in the policy design process influence their preferences. These findings suggest that policy mixes, including simple, minimally intervening and sector-specific flood risk management instruments, are more likely to be politically feasible than balanced instrument mixes. Therefore, traditional “silo” thinking continues to outweigh encompassing policy solutions and impedes possible steps towards an integrated flood risk management approach in Switzerland.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Glaus, Anik


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Anik Glaus

Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2021 17:26

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2021 03:24

Publisher DOI:






Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback