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Developing Countries in the Lead—What Drives the Diffusion of Plastic Bag Policies?

Author

Listed:
  • Doris Knoblauch

    () (Ecologic Institute, 10717 Berlin, Germany)

  • Linda Mederake

    () (Ecologic Institute, 10717 Berlin, Germany)

  • Ulf Stein

    () (Ecologic Institute, 10717 Berlin, Germany)

Abstract

While diffusion patterns are quite well understood in the context of the Global North, diffusion research has only been applied to a limited extent to investigate how policies spread across developing countries. In this article, we therefore analyze the diffusion patterns of plastic bag bans and plastic bag taxes in the Global South and Global North to contribute to the further refinement of diffusion theory by specifically addressing the under-researched Global South. Moreover, with an in-depth investigation of plastic bag policies through the lens of diffusion research, the article provides insights in the rather new and still underexplored policy field of plastic pollution. We find that industrialized countries have mostly adopted plastic bag taxes, while developing countries have mainly introduced plastic bag bans and thus more stringent legislation than countries in the Global North. So far, the key driving force for the diffusion of plastic bag policies in the Global North has been the global public pressure. In the Global South, where plastic bag litter is much more visible and harmful due to limited waste collection and recycling rates, national problem pressure has been much more influential.

Suggested Citation

  • Doris Knoblauch & Linda Mederake & Ulf Stein, 2018. "Developing Countries in the Lead—What Drives the Diffusion of Plastic Bag Policies?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(6), pages 1-1, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:1994-:d:152306
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simmons, Beth A. & Dobbin, Frank & Garrett, Geoffrey, 2006. "Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 781-810, October.
    2. Frank Convery & Simon McDonnell & Susana Ferreira, 2007. "The most popular tax in Europe? Lessons from the Irish plastic bags levy," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(1), pages 1-11, September.
    3. Giacomo Zanello & Xiaolan Fu & Pierre Mohnen & Marc Ventresca, 2016. "The Creation And Diffusion Of Innovation In Developing Countries: A Systematic Literature Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5), pages 884-912, December.
    4. Patrik Marier, 2017. "The politics of policy adoption: a saga on the difficulties of enacting policy diffusion or transfer across industrialized countries," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 50(3), pages 427-448, September.
    5. Johane Dikgang & Martine Visser, 2012. "Behavioural Response To Plastic Bag Legislation In Botswana," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 80(1), pages 123-133, March.
    6. Judith I.M. De Groot & Wokje Abrahamse & Kayleigh Jones, 2013. "Persuasive Normative Messages: The Influence of Injunctive and Personal Norms on Using Free Plastic Bags," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(5), pages 1-16, April.
    7. Johane Dikgang & Anthony Leiman & Martine Visser, 2012. "Elasticity of demand, price and time: lessons from South Africa's plastic-bag levy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(26), pages 3339-3342, September.
    8. Reviva Hasson & Anthony Leiman & Martine Visser, 2007. "The Economics Of Plastic Bag Legislation In South Africa1," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(1), pages 66-83, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pritish Behuria, 2019. "The comparative political economy of plastic bag bans in East Africa: why implementation has varied in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 372019, GDI, The University of Manchester.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    case study research; plastic bags; regulation; policy diffusion; policy transfer; policy learning; sustainable development; marine litter;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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