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In this study, the concern is also of policy, although only indirectly of future policies. The purpose of the study has been to investigate whether the use of economic instruments has made a difference in practice. It is a question which has only rarely been researched by environmental econo- mists. Although a number of surveys have been carried out on the use of economic instruments, these surveys have not directly evaluated the use of economic instruments, but only recorded their application (Ewringmann and Schaufthausen, 1985).

When this study was initiated in 1989/90, there were only a few studies available on the

experience of economic studies, probably because

instruments.4

Few have bothered to undertake such painstakingly empirical

the theory appears to have such a logical foundation.

However, when one con-

siders the empirical

strict conditions that apply to the economic theory on pollution taxes, there is good reason for research on their actual operation. The experiences should be pertinent to practitioners, given

the last

considerable interest in the application of economic instruments for pollution control witnessed in the few years. Furthermore, case studies on the use of economic instruments may also yield findings that

can prove valuable for the future development of theories. The present study is, at knowledge, the first systematic comparative, multi-case study on the use of economic lution control.

least to the

author’s

instruments

for pol-

In the national context, it is frequently the "too many variables, and too few cases" problem that impedes the evaluation of economic instruments (Goggin, 1986). By taking a comparative approach, and by selecting countries that have certain basic similarities as well as similar programmes of public policy in the area investigated, some of the variables can be held under control. According to the replication-logic of the case-study methodology, we expect to replicate outcomes when similar strategies and policy instruments are used (Yin, 1989).

III.

FOUR CASE STUDIES OF WATER POLLUTION CONTROL

All four countries in this study had, in spite of their different aquatic environments, substantial water pollution problems in the late 1960s. When the first modern environmental programmes were introduced around 1970, the control of water pollution was of prime concern. In Denmark, water pollution was regulated by the Environmental Protection Act passed in 1973. In France, the Loi de l’Eau (the Water Act) had been passed in 1964, but it was only in 1968-69 that the decrees necessary to secure the implementation of the law were issued. In Germany, Willy Brandt’s ambitious environmental programme of 1971 included a call for amendments of the Water Household Act, which were passed in 1976 after consultations with the Länder governments, together with a new Waste Water Levy Act. In the Netherlands, the Surface Waters' Pollution Act was passed in 1969 and became effective in 1970. Thus, within a relatively short time span, from 1970 to 1976, all four countries ventured upon new and more active water pollution control policies (see also Johnson and Brown, 1976).

In the following review of these water pollution control policies, we will see how economic instruments were combined with other policy instruments in a setting that, to a very large extent, depended on institutionalised patterns and routines for policy-making, e.g. national styles of policy-- making. This is the case despite the fact that, at the formal level, the use of policy instruments appeared to

4.

To the author's knowledge, only studies of the Japanese S02-levy were available, but it appears that also studies of the Dutch water pollution levy had been carried out (Tsuru and Weidner, 1985; Imura, 1990).

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