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Reaping the seeds of discord: advocacy coalitions and changes in Brazilian environmental regulation

Donadelli, Flavia (2016) Reaping the seeds of discord: advocacy coalitions and changes in Brazilian environmental regulation. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.pf7yq78qwntf


This is a thesis about the main drivers of regulatory change. Departing from theoretical approaches focused on the ‘policy process’ – such as the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) and the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) – this work investigates the main reasons behind the marked changes that occurred in the regulation of three Brazilian environmental policy areas between 2005 and 2015. The policy areas under investigation are Forestry, in particular the approval of a new Forest Code in 2012; Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing, specifically the new 2015 law on the topic (Lei 13.123/2015); and Pesticides, in particular, regulatory changes concerning the registration and use of new products. In order to assess the reasons for regulatory change in these three areas, this thesis qualifies the latest version of the Advocacy Coalition Framework's explanation for policy change as developed by Weible and Nohrstedt (2013). The thesis explores the role of the four causal factors advanced in the ACF – external events, internal events, learning and negotiated agreement – and assesses them in relation to the three case studies. It does so through process-tracing of each sector’s history and content analysis of arguments proffered in National Congress debates, interviews with key actors and in the national media. The findings of this thesis qualify the ACF expectations regarding policy change and suggest that events external and internal to the policy areas analysed might be sufficient sources of regulatory change. Negotiated agreement and learning were not necessary sources of regulatory change in two of the three cases investigated. Among the external events identified as relevant for the regulatory changes are the increased relevance of commodity production and export between 2008 and 2013 and the consequent increase in the political and economic power of the agribusiness sector. The main internal events identified point to the importance of the beginning of the enforcement of previously non-enforced regulations; the limits of the state’s capacity to enforce previous regulations; international negotiations; and media scandals. Finally, incentives generated by international negotiations were found to be crucial determinants of negotiated agreement and learning between coalitions, in the only case in which these occurred (Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Flavia M.M. Donadelli
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Lodge, Martin

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