Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Evaluating Policy Instrument Complexity with Causal Loop Diagrams


Methods to capture the complexity of using policy instruments would allow us to better evaluate the reasons for their effectiveness. Drawing from complexity science, we produce a Causal Loop Diagram to analyse the implementation of two informational policy instruments in a tourism destination: the Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria and the European Tourism Indicator Scheme. To interpret the emerging system structure, we use complexity theory concepts of emergence; interdependence and interconnectivity; co-evolution; self-organisation; feedback; historicity and path dependence. This qualitative methodology sheds light on the interplay of factors that facilitate and impede the continuous use of these policy instruments. It shows how adopting a complexity science approach to evaluation studies can be invaluable to making tourism policy interventions more impactful.