To reach the climate targets, the clean energy and climate transition must have broad support in society and policies and instruments must be perceived as legitimate. The aim of this project is to create better knowledge about the policy process and the legitimacy of Swedish politics and instruments for the transition to a climate-neutral society. As a case, we analyse the new policy instrument climate declaration of buildings. It is an interesting case as it is the first Swedish policy instrument that explicitly intends to reduce the climate footprint of buildings. In addition, there is a connection to the EU energy performance of buildings directive, which has recently been renegotiated and includes climate performance requirements for new buildings from 2030 and existing buildings from 2050 (see the project "Increased knowledge" above). The issue of buildings’ energy use and climate impact affects many actors in society, both private and public, as well as several policy areas in addition to construction and housing policy and energy and climate policy: (i) economic and business policy, (ii) environmental policy, (iii) security policy, and ( iv) social policy. The project's results may be relevant for understanding the legitimacy of Swedish policy instruments in other policy areas.
The research project uses qualitative text analysis and interviews to analyse important aspects of the policy process and the legitimacy of policy instruments. Knowledge of how different stakeholders contribute to policymaking helps us explain how and why policy instruments are designed the way they do. Using the theoretical framework Multiple Streams Framework (MSF), the interactions between the stakeholders are mapped. In particular, we analyse agenda-setting and the linking of problem description, policy proposals and politics. Such linking is done by so-called policy entrepreneurs if and when there is an open policy window, which leads to policy change. Regarding legitimacy, input, throughput and output in the policy process are analysed, i.e. compliance with established democratic rules, openness and an opportunity for citizens to participate in the process, as well as the ability of the governing body to fairly and efficiently solve collective problems. The project thereby complements the limited social science research on the legitimacy of policy instruments. Most legitimacy research focuses on political regimes and their performance, where the legitimacy of an instrument is assumed to follow from the legitimacy of a wider political system. The project also analyses how policy entrepreneurs influence democratic policy processes and other democratic values such as accountability, transparency, openness and justice.
The project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency, Research programme Energy efficient buildings and housing (E2B2), Grant number P2022-00877.
Project start: December 2022
Project end: February 2025
Budget: 1 810 230 kr