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An inter-disciplinary assessment of the implementation of a european environmental policy: the municipal waste incineration directive (89/429/CEE)

Abstract : In its communications, the European Commission regularly points to a shortfall between the objectives defined by European environmental Directives and their implementation in the Member States. While from the legal perspective of this institution, such implementation gaps are undesirable, from a normative economic point of view they can in certain cases be justified by efficiency considerations, provided the initial policy is subject to inefficiencies. This thesis analyses the implementation of European environmental Directives. More specifically, it studies in detail the efficiency of the Council Directive of 21 June 1989 on the reduction of air pollution from existing municipal waste-incineration plants (89/429/EEC) and the cost-effectiveness of its implementation in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. One of the guiding questions is whether possible inefficiencies in this policy may have justified an implementation deficit from an economic point of view and whether implementation has (partly) restored the efficiency of the policy. A review of frequent origins of implementation gaps in European environmental policy suggested by political science based literature highlights two features of European policy making: the separation of competences in policy making and implementation which potentially results in policy makers neglecting implementation issues during the policy design phase; and the heterogeneity of national contexts which are difficult to accommodate by one European policy. Both are important with respect to implementation costs, as one lesson of economic theory is that minimising the overall costs of a regulation requires to properly take into account local situations. Studying the economic efficiency of the municipal waste incineration Directive with respect to its allocation of tasks between the European and the Member State levels and with respect to the cost-effectiveness of its standard differentiation suggests that this policy was probably not optimal. Subsequently, the thesis investigates in a case study based analysis whether and in how far implementation processes have reduced these inefficiencies. Additionally, for France, the thesis includes an econometric analysis of the factors driving the behaviour of the enforcers in charge of the implementation on the ground. The results suggest that two countries managed to reduce costs during implementation and that at least in one case implementation has actually reduced the cost-ineffectiveness of the European Directive, while it remains open whether this policy's efficiency overall has been increased.
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Submitted on : Friday, August 6, 2010 - 11:43:43 AM
Last modification on : Monday, June 27, 2022 - 3:06:41 AM
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  • HAL Id : pastel-00001476, version 1


Simone Schucht. An inter-disciplinary assessment of the implementation of a european environmental policy: the municipal waste incineration directive (89/429/CEE). Economics and Finance. École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2004. English. ⟨NNT : 2004ENMP1277⟩. ⟨pastel-00001476⟩



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