Policy Convergence as a Multi-faceted Concept: The Case of Renewable Energy Policies in the EU

  • Sebastian StrunzEmail author
  • Erik Gawel
  • Paul Lehmann
  • Patrik Söderholm


The literature on policy convergence has identified numerous facets and causal drivers of convergence. Distinguishing four dimensions of convergence (object, benchmark, drivers, and directed process) helps to clarify why and in what form policy convergence may occur (or not). Thus, depending on, e.g., the object of analysis (policy outcome or instruments used), the same empirical case may give rise to opposing assessments. Furthermore, both economic and political drivers are necessary to account for successful policy convergence: economic convergence partly explains why countries may face similar problems and political mechanisms explain why they might choose similar policies to solve a given problem. The paper illustrates the multi-faceted character of convergence for the dynamic field of renewable energy policies in the EU. The empirical results indicate temporary convergence in the case of policy support instrument choices and conditional convergence in terms of renewables shares. However, the results suggest divergence of public R&D subsidies targeting renewables.


Policy convergence Economic convergence Renewable energy sources Support instruments Public R&D subsidies 



This work was supported by the German Helmholtz Association under Grant HA-303. Replication materials are available at


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Strunz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erik Gawel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul Lehmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrik Söderholm
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Infrastructure and Resources ManagementLeipzig UniversityLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Economics UnitLuleå University of TechnologyLuleåSweden

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