Integrating biodiversity: a longitudinal and cross-sectoral analysis of Swiss politics

Reber, Ueli; Fischer, Manuel; Ingold, Karin; Kienast, Felix; Hersperger, Anna M.; Grütter, Rolf; Benz, Robin (2022). Integrating biodiversity: a longitudinal and cross-sectoral analysis of Swiss politics. Policy sciences, 55(2), pp. 311-335. Springer 10.1007/s11077-022-09456-4

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The effective conservation and promotion of biodiversity requires its integration into a wide range of sectoral policies. For this to happen, the issue must receive attention across policy sectors. Yet, we know little about how attention to the issue evolves over time and across sectors. Drawing from the literature on environmental policy integration/mainstreaming and policy process theories, we develop competing hypotheses, expecting either increasing or fluctuating attention to the biodiversity issue. We tested the hypotheses using the case of Swiss politics between 1999 and 2018. Applying a combination of computational methods, we analyze the content of a comprehensive collection of policy documents (n ≈ 440,000) attributed to 20 policy sectors. Comparing the sectors, we find that (1) a persistent increase in attention is the exception, (2) if there is an increase in attention, it is likely to be temporary, and (3) the most common pattern is that of invariant attention over time. Biodiversity integration—if it does happen at all—tends to occur in cycles rather than in steady long-term shifts. This implies that the conservation of biodiversity does not follow the cross-sectoral nature of the problem, but is subject to the dynamics of "politics," where actors, because of limited resources, engage with (aspects of) an issue only for a certain amount of time.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


09 Interdisciplinary Units > Interfakultäres Zentrum für Bildungsforschung (ICER) > Zentrum für Bildungsforschung ICER (WISO)
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03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Reber, Ueli, Ingold, Karin Mirjam, Benz, Robin


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Jack Kessel Baker

Date Deposited:

24 Aug 2022 11:09

Last Modified:

19 Jan 2023 23:27

Publisher DOI:





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