Designing policies in uncertain contexts: Entrepreneurial capacity and the case of the European Emission Trading Scheme

Ishani Mukherjee, Sarah Giest


The paper focuses on enterprising agents in policy formulation and design by looking at their capacity of dealing with different levels of uncertainty. In climate policy specifically, different degrees and types of uncertainties pose a challenge to policymakers. Policy entrepreneurs and the combination of their analytical, operational and political compe- tences are a relevant component in reducing ambiguity in policy design and translating broad policy goals to operational programmes and specific policy instruments. Using the case of the European Emission Trading Scheme, we suggest that the success of policy entrepreneurs in catalysing policy change is determined by their capacity to work against multiple kinds of uncertainty. This ‘uncertainty mitigating’ capacity on the part of policy entrepreneurs rests significantly on balancing managerial expertise and political acumen. We conclude that entrepreneurial capacity goes beyond current definitions in the literature, involving the balance among analytical, operational and political compe- tences to navigate a politicized policy context. 


policy design, policy entrepreneurs

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

@Annual Review of Policy Design ISSN: ISSN 2291-6989