Policy styles, opportunity structures and proportionality: Comparing renewable electricity policies in the UK

AuthorTim Rayner,Merethe Dotterud Leiren,Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg
Publication Date01 January 2021
DOI10.1177/0192512120907112
SubjectSpecial Issue Articles
https://doi.org/10.1177/0192512120907112
International Political Science Review
2021, Vol. 42(1) 33 –47
© The Author(s) 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0192512120907112
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Policy styles, opportunity
structures and proportionality:
Comparing renewable electricity
policies in the UK
Merethe Dotterud Leiren
CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Norway
Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg
Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway
Tim Rayner
University of East Anglia, UK
Abstract
Researchers expect under-reaction in climate policy. However, this might differ depending on the access
of different interest groups to a political system. To explore the relationship between entrenched patterns
of domestic politics and proportionality of climate policy, we compare two renewables policies which
financially support new renewable electricity in the UK. Drawing on the literature on policy styles and
related opportunity structures, this article shows that UK political parties have responded to growing
public concern and NGO pressure by, at times, trying to out-green one another to win votes. However,
powerful industry actors have been influential in shaping UK renewables policies, in particular when political
competition about the individual policies has been low. The findings suggest that an over-reaction in terms
of exceeding the marginal costs of renewable electricity production is equally likely under conditions of high
or low political competition.
Keywords
Interest groups, opportunity structures, policy styles, proportionality, renewable energy, support
schemes, UK
Corresponding author:
Merethe Dotterud Leiren, CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Gaustadalléen 21, Oslo, 0349, Norway.
Email: merethe.leiren@cicero.oslo.no
907112IPS0010.1177/0192512120907112International Political Science ReviewLeiren et al.
research-article2020
Special Issue Article

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