Qualitative assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - summary report

Citation: Nesbit M, Bigano A, Ekval E, Hirschnitz-Garbers M, Lucha C, Śniegocki A, Vanner R, Zotti J (2015). Qualitative assessment of the DYNAMIX policy mixes. DYNAMIX project deliverable D5.5. London: Institute for European Environmental Policy.


This report builds on the findings of the qualitative ex-ante assessments of the policy mixes developed under the DYNAMIX project, reported separately in Nesbit et al, 2015; Bukowski et al, 2015; Bigano et al, 2015; Lucha and Roberts, 2015; and Vanner et all, 2015.  In doing so, it identifies some of the challenges associated with the forward-looking evaluation of policy mixes generally, and with the specific policy mixes identified by the DYNAMIX project. It also notes key areas of consonance and divergence between the qualitative ex ante assessments under consideration, and the quantitative ex-ante assessments carried out in parallel, and identifies possible implications for policy.

The report first explains the methodology adopted for each aspect of the qualitative ex-ante assessment; it then discusses some of the challenges which were common to all or several of the assessments, or which arise from the process of bringing separate assessments together to form a single overview. Understanding these challenges, and thus the nature of the messages that emerge from the evaluations (both in terms of the valuable light they provide, and in terms of their limitations) is important to their effective use in policymaking. The report identifies some key messages which emerge from the process of bringing together separate qualitative assessments which address different facets of the impacts of policy mixes, using different methodological approaches; a process which was informed by the comparison with the results emerging from the quantitative assessment. These messages appear to be of broad relevance to the development of policy mixes for resource efficiency. 

In particular, we identify: (i) the importance of understanding public acceptability issues, and the potential for policy sequencing to be used to help achieve the required changes in paradigms over time; (ii) the challenges involved in developing appropriate, and effective, tax instruments, which requires attention to the risk of overlaps between tax instruments, and is confronted with a broad challenge of public acceptability; (iii) The need to address the impact of extra-EU material flows in the form of imports and exports, both in terms of the potential impacts (often exaggerated in the public discourse) on EU economic interests, and in terms of the impact of EU policies on environmental and other outcomes in other economies; (iv) the importance of addressing social impacts at an early stage in policy design, in order to ensure that accompanying measures reinforce and facilitate the shift to resource efficiency among low-income households in particular; and (v) the need for coherence and consistency in the development of policy mixes, based on forward-looking roadmapping, effective sequencing, and an awareness of the challenges posed by uncertainty (both uncertainty in relation to the impact of individual policies, and uncertainty as to the broader context in which policies will be implemented).