Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold

Chair of Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO)

Institute of Political Science

+41 31 631 53 60
+41 31 631 83 31
A 162
Postal Address
University Bern
Institute Political Science
Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern

About Karin Ingold

Karin Ingold is professor at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern since August 2011 and is also affiliated to the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change research. She leads the research group of Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO) affiliated to the Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern and the Department of Environmental Social Sciences at EAWAG.
Karin Ingold is Associate Editor for Continental Europe for the Journal of Policy & Politics and in the editorial board of the Policy Studies Journal, Swiss Political Science Review, Connections, and European Policy Analysis Journal. In her research, she is interested in the analysis and design of policy processes and instruments. Through her PhD and recent research, she became a scholar of the Advocacy Coalition Framework and other policy process theories. Methodologically, she mainly developed her skills in the conceptual development and application of social network analysis. Since 2008, she has been a co-organizer of the International Conference on the Application of Social Network Analysis (ASNA), and since 2013 she is in the Scientific Board of the European Conference on Social Network Analysis.


  • Kammerer, M.; Namhata, C. (2018). What drives the adoption of climate change mitigation policy? A dynamic network approach to policy diffusion. Policy Sciences online: 1–35. DOI: 10.1007/s11077-018-9332-6.
  • Metz, F.; Leifeld, P.; Ingold, K. (2018). Interdependent policy instrument preferences: A two-mode network approach. Journal of Public Policy online: 1–28.
  • Maag, S.; Fischer, M. (2018). Why Government, Interest Groups, and Research Coordinate: The Different Purposes of Forums. Society & Natural Resources online. DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2018.1484973.
  • Kammermann, L.; Dermont, C. (2018). How beliefs of the political elite and citizens on climate change influence support for Swiss energy transition policy. Energy Research & Social Science 43: online. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.05.010.
  • Weible, C.; Ingold, K. (2018). Why Advocacy Coalitions Matter and Practical Insights about Them. Policy & Politics 46(2): 325-343. DOI: 10.1332/030557318X15230061739399.
  • Angst, M.; Widmer, A.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K. (2018). Connectors and coordinators in natural resource governance: insights from Swiss water supply. Ecology and Society 23(2): 1. DOI: 10.5751/ES-10030-230201.
  • Brandenberger, L. (2018). Trading favors – Examining the temporal dynamics of reciprocity in congressional collaborations using relational event models. Social Networks 54: 238-253. DOI: 10.1016/j.socnet.2018.02.001.
  • Cairney, P.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2018). Fracking in the UK and Switzerland: why differences in policymaking systems don't always produce different outputs and outcomes. Policy & Politics 46(1): 125-147. DOI: 10.1332/030557316X14793989976783.
  • Widmer, A. (2018). Mainstreaming climate adaptation in Switzerland: How the national adaptation strategy is implemented differently across sectors. Environmental Science & Policy 82: 71–78. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.01.007.
  • Ingold, K.; Moser, A.; Metz, F.; Herzog, L.; Bader, H.P.; Scheidegger, R.; Stamm, Ch. (2018). Misfit between physical affectedness and regulatory embeddedness: The case of drinking water supply along the Rhine River. Global Environmental Change 48: 136-150. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.11.006.


  • Malang, T.; Brandenberger, L.; Leifeld, P. (2017). Networks and Social Influence in European Legislative Politics. British Journal of Political Science online. DOI: 10.1017/S0007123417000217.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M.; Cairney, P. (2017). Drivers for Policy Agreement in Nascent Subsystems: An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework to Fracking Policy in Switzerland and the UK. Policy Studies Journal 45(3): 442–463. DOI: 10.1111/psj.12173.
  • Kammermann, L. (2017). Factors Driving the Promotion of Hydroelectricity: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Review of Policy Research online. DOI: 10.1111/ropr.12274.
  • Metz, F.; Leifeld, P. (2017). “Governing Water with Market-Based Instruments: Preferences and Skepticism in Switzerland”. In A Critical Approach to International Water Management Trends. Policy and Practice, ed. C. Bréthaut and R. Schweizer. London: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 147-176.
  • Fischer, M.; Angst, M.; Maag, S. (2017). Co-participation in the Swiss water forum network. International Journal of Water Resources Development Online. DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2017.1374929.
  • Metz, F.; Ingold, K. (2017). Politics of the precautionary principle: assessing actors’ preferences in water protection policy. Policy Sciences Online. DOI: 10.1007/s11077-017-9295-z.
  • Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Ivanova, S. (2017). Information exchange under uncertainty: The case of unconventional gas development in the United Kingdom. Land Use Policy online. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.05.003.
  • Metz, F. (2017). From Network Structure to Policy Design in Water Protection: A Comparative Perspective on Micropollutants in the Rhine River Riparian Countries. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
  • Dermont, C.; Ingold, K.; Kammermann, L.; Stadelmann-Steffen, I. (2017). Bringing the policy making perspective in: A political science approach to social acceptance. Energy Policy 108: 359–368.
  • Angst, M.; Hirschi, C. (2017). Network Dynamics in Natural Resource Governance: A Case Study of Swiss Landscape Management. Policy Studies Journal 45(2): 315-336. DOI: 10.1111/psj.12145.
  • Jiang, D.; Fischer, M.; Huang, Z.; Kunz, N. (2017). Identifying Drivers of China's Provincial Wastewater Reuse Outcomes Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Online. DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12584.
  • Leifeld, P.; Wankmüller, S.; Berger, V.; Ingold, K.; Steiner, C. (2017). Collaboration patterns in the German political science co-authorship network. Plos One online. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174671.
  • Sager, F.; Ingold, K.; Balthasar, A. (2017). Policy-Analyse in der Schweiz. Besonderheiten, Theorien, Beispiele. Zürich: NZZ Verlag.
  • Fischer, M.; Schläpfer, I. 2017. Metagovernance and Policy Forum Outputs in Swiss Environmental Policy. Environmental Politics online. DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2017.1284981.
  • Varone, F.; Ingold, K.; Jourdain, Ch. (2017). Defending the status quo across venues and coalitions: evidence from California interest groups. Journal of Public Policy 37(1): 1-26. DOI: 10.1017/S0143814X16000179.
  • Ingold, K. (2017). How to create and preserve social capital in climate adaptation policies: a network approach. Ecological Economics 131 (January 2017): 414-424. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.08.033.


  • Weible, C.M.; Heikkila, T.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing. Comparing Coalition Politics in North America and Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4.
  • Weible, C.M.; Heikkila, T.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). “Introduction”. In Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Wible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 1-27. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_1.
  • Cairney, P.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K. (2016). “Hydraulic Fracturing Policy in the United Kingdom: Coalition, Cooperation, and Opposition in the Face of Uncertainty”. In Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Weible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 81-113. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_4.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). “Belief Conflicts and Coalition Structures Driving Subnational Policy Responses: The Case of Swiss Regulation of Unconventional Gas Development”. In Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Weible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 201-237. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_8.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M.; Heikkila, T.; Weible, C.M. (2016). “Assessments and Aspirations”. In Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Weible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 239-264. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_9.
  • Ingold, K.; Lieberherr, E.; Schläpfer, I.; Steinmann, K.; Zimmermann, W. (2016). Umweltpolitik der Schweiz – ein Lehrbuch. 337 Seiten. Zürich/St. Gallen: Dike Verlag. Webanhang (PDF, 790KB)
  • Fischer, M. (2016). "Institutions and policy networks in Europe." In Oxford Handbook of Political Networks, ed. J. N. Victor, M. Lubell and A. Montgomery. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M., de Boer, C., Mollinga, P. (2016). Water Management Across Borders, Scales and Sectors: Recent developments and future challenges in water policy analysis. Environmental Policy and Governance 26(4): 223-228. DOI: 10.1002/eet.1713.
  • Balsiger, J.; Ingold, K. (2016). In the Eye of the Beholder: Network location and sustainability perception in flood prevention. Environmental Policy and Governance 26(4): 242-256. DOI: 10.1002/eet.1715.
  • Metz, F.; Fischer, M. (2016). Policy Diffusion in the Context of International River Basin Management. Environmental Policy and Governance 26(4): 257-277. DOI: 10.1002/eet.1716.
  • Ingold, K.; Pflieger, G. (2016) Two Levels, Two Strategies: Explaining the Gap Between Swiss National and International Responses Toward Climate Change. European Policy Analysis Journal 2(1): 20-38.
  • Leifeld, P.; Ingold, K. (2016) Co-authorship Networks in Swiss Political Research. Swiss Political Science Review 22(2): 264-287. DOI:10.1111/spsr.12193.
  • Varone, F.; Ingold, K.; Jourdain, C. (2016) Studying policy advocacy through social network Analysis. European Political Science. Advance online publication, 27 May 2016. DOI:10.1057/eps.2016.16.
  • Cranmer, S. J.; Leifeld, P.; McClurg, S. D.; Rolfe, M. (2016). Navigating the Range of Statistical Tools for Inferential Network Analysis. American Journal of Political Science 61(1): 237-251. DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12263.
  • Towfigh, E.V.; Goerg, S.J.; Glöckner, A.; Leifeld, P.; Kurschilgen, C.; Llorente-Saguer, A.; Bade, S. (2016). Do Direct-Democratic Procedures Lead to Higher Acceptance than Political Representation? Experimental Survey Evidence from Germany. Public Choice 167(1): 47-65. DOI: 10.1007/s11127-016-0330-y.
  • Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Sciarini, P.; Varone, F. (2016) Dealing with bad guys: Actor- and process-level determinants of the “devil shift” in policy making. Journal of Public Policy, 26 (2) 309-334. DOI:10.1017/S0143814X15000021.
  • Varone, F.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016) Administration et réseaux d'action publique. In: Giauque, D.; Emery, Y. L'acteur et la bureaucratie au 21e siècle. Québec: Presses de l'Université de Laval. 115-140.
  • Thomann, E.; Lieberherr, E.; Ingold, K. (2016) Torn between state and market: Private policy implementation and conflicting institutional logics. Policy and Society, 35(1), 57-69. DOI:10.1016/j.polsoc.2015.12.001.
  • Fischer, M.; Sciarini, P. (2016) Drivers of collaboration in political decision making: A cross-sector perspective. The Journal of Politics, 78(1), 63-74. DOI:10.1086/683061.
  • Kunz, N. C.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Hering, J. G. (2016) Drivers for and against municipal wastewater recycling: A review. Water Science and Technology, 73(2), 251-259. DOI:10.2166/wst.2015.496.
  • Markard, J.; Suter, M.; Ingold, K. (2016) Socio-technical transitions and policy change – Advocacy coalitions in Swiss energy policy. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 18, 215-237.  DOI:10.1016/j.eist.2015.05.003.
  • Ingold, K.; Leifeld, P. (2016) Structural and Institutional Determinants of Influence Reputation: A Comparison of Collaborative and Adversarial Policy Networks in Decision Making and Implementation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 26(1), 1-18. DOI:10.1093/jopart/muu043.
  • Fischer, M.; Maggetti, M. (2016) Qualitative Comparative Analysis and the Study of Policy Processes. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 17 pp. DOI:10.1080/13876988.2016.1149281.
  • Leifeld, P. (2016) Policy Debates as Dynamic Networks. German Pension Politics and Privatization Discourse, 354 pp. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag.


  • Stadelmann-Steffen, I.; Ingold, K. (2015) Ist der Name schon Programm? Die GLP-Wählerschaft und ihre grünen und freisinnigen Wurzeln. In: Freitag; M.; Vatter, A.: Wahlen und Wählerschaft in der Schweiz. NZZ Libro Verlag.  217-244.
  • Fischer, M. (2015) Institutions and coalitions in policy processes: A cross-sectoral comparison. Journal of Public Policy, 35(2), 245-268. DOI:10.1017/S0143814X14000166.
  • Fischer, M. (2015) Collaboration patterns, external shocks and uncertainty: Swiss nuclear energy politics before and after Fukushima. Energy Policy, 86, 520-528. DOI:10.1016/j.enpol.2015.08.007.
  • Kunz, N. C.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Hering, J. G. (2015) Why do some water utilities recycle more than others? A qualitative comparative analysis in New South Wales, Australia. Environmental Science and Technology, 49(14), 8287-8296. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.5b01827.
  • Fischer, M.; Leifeld, P. (2015) Policy forums: Why do they exist and what are they used for? Policy Sciences, 48(3), 363-382. DOI:10.1007/s11077-015-9224-y.
  • Ingold, K.; Varone, F. (2015) Is the Swiss Constitution really constitutional? Testing the “veil of ignorance” hypothesis over time, 187-202. In: Imbeau, L; Jacob, S: Behind a Veil of Ignorance? Power and Uncertainty in Constitutional Design. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-14953-0.
  • Fischer, M.; Sciarini, P. (2015) Unpacking reputational power: Intended and unintendeddeterminants of the assessment of actors’ power. Social Networks, (42): 60-71. DOI:10.1016/j.socnet.2015.02.008.
  • Ingold, K.; Christopoulos, D. (2015) The networks of political entrepreneurs: A case study of Swiss climate policy, 17-30. In: Narbutaité Aflaki, I.; Petridou, E.; Miles, L.; Entrepreneurship in the Polis - Understanding Political Entrepreneurship. Burlington: Ashgate.
  • Tresch, A.; Fischer, M. (2015) In search of political influence: Outside lobbying behaviour and media coverage of social movements, interest groups and political parties in six Western European countries. International Political Science Review, 36, 355-372. DOI:10.1177/0192512113505627.
  • Christopoulos, D.; Ingold, K. (2015) Exceptional or just well connected? Political entrepreneurs and brokers in policy making. European Political Science Review, 7(3), 475-498. DOI:10.1017/S1755773914000277.


  • Sciarini, P.; Tresch, A.; Fischer, M. (2014) Europeanization in Parliament and in the Press. Swiss Political Science Review, 20(2), 232-238. DOI:10.1111/spsr.12101.
  • Fischer, M.; Sciarini, P. (2014) The Europeanization of Swiss Decision-Making Processes. Swiss Political Science Review, 20(2), 239-245. DOI:10.1111/spsr.12102.
  • Brönnimann, S.; Appenzeller, C.; Croci‐Maspoli, M.; Fuhrer, J.; Grosjean, M.; Hohmann, R.; Ingold, K.; Knutti, R.; Liniger, M. A.; Raible, C. C.; Röthlisberger, R.; Schär, C.; Scherrer, S. C.; Strassmann, K.; Thalmann, P. (2014) Climate change in Switzerland: A review of physical, institutional, and political aspects. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews - Climate Change, 5(4), 461-481. DOI:10.1002/wcc.280.
  • Ingold, K.; Gschwend. M. (2014) Science in policy-making: Neutral experts or strategic policy-makers? West European Politics, 37(5), 993-1018. DOI:10.1080/01402382.2014.920983.
  • Henry, A. D.; Ingold, K.; Nohrstedt, D.; Weible, C. M. (2014) Policy Change in Comparative Contexts. Applying the Advocacy Coalition Framework Outside of Western Europe and North America. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 16(4, SI), 299-312. DOI:10.1080/13876988.2014.941200.
  • Ingold, K., Fischer, M. (2014) Drivers of Collaboration to Mitigate Climate Change: An Illustration of Swiss Climate Policy over 15 Years. Global Environmental Change, (24)(1), 88-98. DOI:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.11.021.
  • Metz, F.; Ingold, K. (2014) Sustainable Wastewater Management: Is it Possible to Regulate Micropollution in the Future by Learning from the Past? A Policy Analysis. Sustainability, 6(4), 1992-2012. DOI:10.3390/su6041992.
  • Ingold, K. (2014) How involved are they really? A comparative network analysis of the institutional drivers of local actor inclusion. Land Use Policy, 39, 376-387. DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.01.013.
  • Fischer, M. (2014) Coalition structures and policy change in a consensus democracy. Policy Studies Journal, 42(3), 344-366. DOI:10.1111/psj.12064.
  • Cappelletti, F.; Fischer, M.; Sciarini, P. (2014) ‘Let's talk cash’: Cantons' interests and the reform of Swiss federalism. Regional & Federal Studies, 24(1), 1-20. DOI:10.1080/13597566.2013.808627.


  • Ingold, K.; Balsiger, J. (2013) Sustainability Principles put into Practice: Case Studies of Network Analysis in Swiss Climate Change Adaptation. Regional Environmental Change, 529-598. DOI:10.​1007/​s10113-013-0575-7.
  • Fischer, M.; Sciarini, P. (2013) Europeanization and the inclusive strategies of executive actors. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(10), 1482-1498. DOI:10.1080/13501763.2013.781800.
  • Fisher, D. R.; Waggle, J.; Leifeld, P. (2013) Where does political polarization come from? Locating polarization within the U.S. climate change debate. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(1), 70-92. DOI:10.1177/0002764212463360.
  • Fisher, D. R.; Leifeld, P.; Iwaki, Y. (2013) Mapping the ideological networks of American climate politics. Climatic Change, 116(3-4), 523-545. DOI:10.1007/s10584-012-0512-7.
  • Ingold, K.; Varone, F.; Stokman, F. (2013) A social network-based approach to assess de facto independence of regulatory agencies. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(10), 1464-1481. DOI:10.1080/13501763.2013.804280.
  • Leifeld, P. (2013) Reconceptualizing major policy change in the advocacy coalition framework: A discourse network analysis of German pension politics. Policy Studies Journal, 41(1), 169-198. DOI:10.1111/psj.12007.
  • Leifeld,P. (2013) texreg: Conversion of Statistical Model Output in R to LaTeX and HTML Tables. Journal of Statistical Software, 55(8), 1-24. DOI:10.18637/jss.v055.i08.
  • Lieberherr, E. (2013) Organisationsformen im Vergleich. Leistungsfähigkeit der Siedlungswasserwirtschaft in Zürich, Berlin und Leeds. Aqua & Gas, 93(2), 48-52.
  • Lienert, J.; Schnetzer, F.; Ingold, K. (2013) Stakeholder analysis combined with social network analysis provides fine-grained insights into water infrastructure planning processes. Journal of Environmental Management, 125, 134-148.  DOI:10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.03.052.
  • Maggetti, M.; Ingold, K.; Varone, F. (2013) Having your cake and eating it, too: Can regulatory agencies be both independent and accountable? Swiss Political Science Review, 19(1), 1-25. DOI:10.1111/spsr.12015.
  • Metz, F. (2013) Addressing micropollution by linking problem characteristics to policy instruments. Working paper, 38 pp.
  • Schneider, V.; Leifeld, P.; Malang, T. (2013) Coping with creeping catastrophes: National political systems and the challenge of slow-moving policy problems, 221 -238. In: Siebenhüner, B.; Arnold, M.; Eisenack, K.; Jacob, K.: Long-Term Governance of Social-Ecological Change. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Towfigh, E. V.; Glöckner, A.; Goerg, S. J.; Leifeld, P.; Kurschilgen, C.; Llorente-Saguer, A.; Bade, S. (2013) Does Political Representation through Parties Decrease Voters' Acceptance of Decisions? Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013/10.


  • Fischer, M. (2012) Entscheidungsstrukturen in der Schweizer Politik zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts, 11, 379 pp. Glarus: Somedia.
  • Fischer, M. (2012) Dominance or challenge? An explanation of the power distribution among coalitions in Swiss decision-making processes, 39 pp. COMPASSS Working Paper 69.
  • Hering, J. G.; Ingold, K. M. (2012) Water resources management: What should be integrated? Science, 336(6086), 1234-1235. DOI:10.1126/science.1218230.
  • Ingold, K.; Varone, F. (2012) Treating policy brokers seriously: Evidence from the climate policy. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 22(2), 319-346. DOI:10.1093/jopart/mur035.
  • Leifeld, P.; Schneider, V. (2012) Information Exchange in Policy Networks. American Journal of Political Science, 56(3), 731-744. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00580.x.
  • Leifeld, P.; Haunss, S. (2012) Political discourse networks and the conflict over software patents in Europe. European Journal of Political Research, 51(3), 382-409. DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2011.02003.x.
  • Lieberherr, E.; Klinke, A.; Finger, M. (2012) Towards legitimate water governance? The partially privatized Berlin waterworks. Public Management Review, 14(7), 923-946. DOI:10.1080/14719037.2011.650056.
  • Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Sciarini, P.; Varone, F. (2012) Impacts of market liberalization on regulatory network: A longitudinal analysis of the Swiss telecommunications sector. Policy Studies Journal, 40(3), 435-457. DOI:10.1111/j.1541-0072.2012.00460.x.


Welcome to the chair of Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO)

In August 2011, the Institute of Political Science (IPW) at the University of Bern installed the Professorship of Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO). This Chair was founded as a result of a fruitful collaboration between the IPW and the EAWAG (the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology). Since the beginning, Karin Ingold took the lead in this new research group. She is a political scientist and focuses her research and lectures on the analysis of policy processes, and instrument design. Karin Ingold has a particular interest in issues relating to natural resource management, water, energy and climate policy. PEGO is also affiliated to the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change research.





Group leader Eawag, Dr.


PhD Candidates

Junior Assistant

Former Staff Member

Open Topics for BA- and MA-Thesis:

  • Political decision-making process on CO2-Act. The CO2-Act is the centrepiece of Switzerland’s climate policy. Its development and content were massively debated among the opponents in the climate policy subsystem. In particular, the conflict arises between powerful economic groups, traffic organisations, the oil lobby, and conservative political parties, on the one side, and environmental organisations, NGOs, and progressive parties on the other side of the political spectrum. The main contestation is and was the introduction of a CO2 tax on combustibles and motor fuels. The tax on fuels has never been successful until today. Policy analysis research closely investigated the policy formulation process in the past two decades. Specifically, under the auspices of Karin Ingold, elite surveys were conducted on a regular basis to collect data on policy beliefs and policy networks of the involved actors. This Master thesis aims to implement a new survey focusing on the most recent revision of the CO2-Act and to analyse the gathered data with methods from the Social Network Analysis toolbox.
  • Influence of local decision-makers on flood prevention. Recent extreme flood events in Switzerland indicate that further effective and long-term flood prevention measures are necessary to protect municipalities and landscapes from flooding. Flood prevention in Switzerland is a shared competence of the federal government, the cantons and the municipalities. Fulfilling tasks of hydraulic engineering as well as the design, development and implementation of flood prevention policies is mainly the responsibility of the municipalities. In this context, several questions are raised: What role do the preferences of local decision-makers, e.g. a municipal council’s president, play for the choice of flood prevention measures in the same municipality? Which impacts does a municipal council’s political orientation have for the salience of flood prevention in the same municipality? This master thesis deals with these and similar questions. On the basis of a case study design, the aim is to analyze the impact of local decision-makers’ biographies on decision-making in flood prevention.
  • Europeanization of Swiss Water Politics. Many policy sectors in Switzerland are confronted with an increasing internationalization and Europeanization – an adaption of policies as well as functional logics of policy processes to policies and processes at international levels. This phenomenon has an impact – among others – on the opportunities of Swiss political actors to influence policymaking. The prospective MA thesis analyses the respective mechanisms in the water policy sector – a policy sector that by definition has a strongly transboundary character. Among other international processes, the European Water Framework Directive influences policymaking in the non EU member state Switzerland.
  • Biodiversity as a complex policy field. The prospective MA thesis deals with the complex actor constellation around biodiversity. Biodiversity concerns many different traditional policy sectors (water, forest, energy, land use planning, agriculture, etc.) and is influenced by policy processes (“Strategie Biodiversität”) on different levels of decision-making (from municipalities to international treaties). Theoretical approaches on policy processes and policy networks should guide the empirical analysis of the actor constellation in this field.
  • Competence shifts to municipality associations. Municipalities are the lowest level in the Swiss multi-level system of political decision-making. They are under increasing pressure, given the challenges provided by technical developments in – for example – the infrastructure domain. One solution for municipalities to deal with these challenges and related lack of resources and expertise is to delegate certain competencies to municipality associations. The prospective MA thesis deals with the question why such shifts of competences are accepted or not by municipalities, and under what context conditions they are successful or not. The thesis analyses this question for the domain of wastewater and drinking water.
  • Privatization of drinking water. The population of the canton of Zurich will soon vote on the revision of the integrated cantonal water law. The main reason for the high public interest and the conflictive discussions around the revision of this law is due to the fact that an element in the law explicitly provides the option for private firms to acquire parts of the drinking water supply system. The discussions in the canton of Zurich might very well influence related discussions in other cantons. The prospective MA thesis analyses the policy process and the actor network around the revision of the Zurich water law, as well as actors’ preferences and strategies around the question of privatisation of water supply against the background of policy process and network theories.
  • Protection of deep groundwater. Deep groundwater is increasingly concerned by different uses such as the extraction of mineral water, geo-thermical drillings, future CO2 storage as well as the agricultural use of water due to climate change. The protection and the related coordination of uses (as for example through prioritizing given types of uses) needs to be adapted to these new challenges in order to prevent future problems in regulation and uncertainties for users. The prospective MA thesis prepares basic parameters related to this issue and identifies and critically evaluates relevant actors, interests, conflicts, opportunities for coordination and policy instruments related to the protection of deep groundwater.
  • River restoration in Switzerland: Comparing cantonal strategies. In the next decades, Switzerland will restore (revitalize) an important part of its rivers. While the goals and basic criteria and financing mechanisms are defined at the national level, cantons are mainly responsible for identifying the river parts which should be restored. Swiss cantons thereby encounter different political and geographical challenges, and, as a consequence, organize their strategic planning of restoration measures in different ways, and rely on different criteria. Given the long-term task of restoring rivers, knowing how cantons plan their measures, and thus allowing for cross-cantonal learning over time, is crucial. The aim of the MA thesis is to compare cantonal planning processes, resources, approaches, and actor constellations related to restoration planning, and thus to identify why given types of cantons act in specific ways. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) might be a good methodological approach for such a comparison. (German knowledge required)
  • Analyzing political decision-making processes of flood protection. Forecasts indicate that heavy precipitation events as a consequence of climate change will occur more often in the future, and thus, the risk of flooding will increase. This confronts politicians with the challenge to design and implement new adaptation measures on the local level. The design of appropriate instruments depends to a large extent on the actors involved in the decision-making process and the structure of their interactions. In 2012 and 2014, the Federal Council published his strategy on climate change adaptation and formulated his strategic approach to flood protection. The aim of the MA thesis is to find out, which actors were involved in the design of the strategy on flood protection and how their interactions were structured.
  • International Water Governance in the “International Geneva”. This MA thesis has the goal to describe and analyze the set of international organizations based in and around Geneva and dealing with water issues. In this complex governance system, how are organizational characteristics related to organization’s issue portfolios or network positions? In empirical terms, the analysis should be based on an existing database (which might be expanded and completed, if needed). This MA thesis will be written in collaboration with the Geneva Water Hub (
  • Conflict around river restoration. Agriculture, railways, motorways, drinking water supply and other land uses can be in direct conflict with more ecologically driven measures like river restauration. In this Master thesis, user and protection conflicts, and tradeoffs between different, often divergent interests should be systematically assessed and then, via a concrete case study, or case study comparison, empirically studied.

Research projects

Water Policy

  • Overlapping Subsystems: Identification and Integration of Fragmented Games in Swiss Water Politics
  • CrossWater - Transboundary Micropollution Regulation in Europe: the definition of appropriate management scales
  • How to explain instrument selection in complex policy processes- A comparative network approach of micropollution regulation in the Rhine River Basin
  • Water Supply Structures in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft
  • Policy Forums in Water and Environmental Governance

Overlapping Subsystems: Identification and Integration of Fragmented Games in Swiss Water Politics

With the increasing complexity of modern political problems, actors are involved in an ecology of games and simultaneously deal with several issues at different stages and levels, and across varying arenas. We argue that traditional approaches focusing on single policy sectors are unable to deal with this new complexity in political decision-making. In the planned research project, we seek to overcome the limitations of these approaches by focusing explicitly on the games that actors play across issues, stages, levels and arenas. We ask, (1) how can overlapping games be identified; (2) what factors explain that actors or issues are involved in several games; and (3) how do the games that actors play interact with each other?
Empirically, the research project deals with Swiss water politics. Water-related issues are often transboundary and cross-sectoral in nature and involve different levels of decision-making. This complexity makes water politics an ideal case in which to study overlapping games. Our analysis will lead us to (1) map Swiss water politics and its ecology of games; (2) explain the ecology of games by analyzing why actors or issues are involved in several games; and (3) contribute to theory by developing a typology of games.

Start: April 1st 2014, duration: 3 years
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation
Team: Manuel Fischer, Philip Leifeld, Karin Ingold, Mario Angst, Laurence Brandenberger

CrossWater - Transboundary Micropollution Regulation in Europe: the definition of appropriate management scales

One major challenge faced in environmental management is to adapt the spatial scale of regulation to specific environmental problems. From a natural science perspective, the appropriate scale of management units can be defined by the boundaries beyond which physical, chemical or biological processes have no effect on the environmental problem. However, actual political management units rarely match these ideal states. This is particularly true for transboundary water pollution in general, and micropollutants' regulation in particular, where different jurisdictions tend to produce diverse policy solutions and implement divergent instruments to tackle the very same problem within the same hydrological catchment area. In this research project we adopt an interdisciplinary approach combining mass flux analysis with political science and economic geography and ask the question: How can the potential mismatch between the physical extent of pollution and the respective political areas of action and regulation towards micropollution be visualized and grasped in order to design effective and efficient micropollution regulation?

Start: April 2014
Team: Karin Ingold, Laura Herzog
Project partners and associate members:
EAWAG: Hans-Peter Bader; Philip Leifeld; Andreas Moser; Ruth Scheidegger; Christian Stamm
Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER): Christophe Sohn; Marc Schneider; Antoine Paccoud

Related Publications:
Hering J, Ingold K (2012), Water Resources Management: What Should Be Integrated? Policy Forum, Science 8 June 2012: 1234-1235.

How to explain instrument selection in complex policy processes- A comparative network approach of micropollution regulation in the Rhine River Basin

This research project addresses the question of which factors explain governments’ choice of instrument selection. To answer this question, we concentrate on the emerging policy discussion and the formulation processes about micropollution regulation within the Rhine river basin and compare policy options of four riparian countries: Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Start: April 1st 2012, duration: 3 years,
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation
Team: Karin Ingold, Florence Metz
Project partners and associate members:
H. Bressers UTwente, M. Lubell UDavis, F. Varone UGeneva

Related Publications:
Metz, Florence and Ingold, Karin (2014).  Sustainable Wastewater Management: Is it Possible to Regulate Micropollution in the Future by Learning from the Past? A Policy Analysis. Sustainability 6(4) 1992-2012

Water Supply Structures in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft

Decentralized and small organizational structures characterize the water supply sector in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. Each municipality generally has its own waterworks. Only a few larger, joint waterworks exist – i.e., more centralized structures with shared ownership and operation between multiple municipalities. These current structures, however,  increasingly reach their limits to meet present and future water supply challenges. Specifically, the small waterworks face increasing difficulties due to rising quality and quantity demands as they often lack funds and know-how..

Given this context, the project aims to shed light onto potentially viable future water supply structures in different regions of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. To accomplish this objective, the research project involves the following steps:

(1) an analysis of the current water supply structures’ strengths and weaknesses in the canton for coping with the major present and future challenges;

(2) an evaluation of the pros and cons of alternative structures (e.g., more centralized or cross-sector forms with different financing models and regulations) based on analyzing the few existing joint waterworks in the canton as well as other structures for water supply and other sectors (e.g., electric power supply, wastewater) in Switzerland;

(3) the development of recommendations for the public authorities regarding the applicability of these alternative structures in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft, potential obstacles and how to foster their implementation.

Start: May 1st 2013, duration: 3 years
Team: Karin Ingold, Alexander Widmer
Project partners: Eva Lieberherr, Kathrin Steinmann

Related Publications:

Policy Forums in Water and Environmental Governance

Policy forums are lightly institutionalized and stable forms of governance networks which include state authorities, interest groups, stakeholders and scientists and deal with policy problems in a given issue area. Especially new complex issues in domains such as climate change or energy policy are supposed to be better governed in a horizontal, informal and inclusive way within policy forums, as compared to the traditional hierarchical forms of political decision-making let by the state administration. This research project analyzes the role that such policy forums can play for the functioning of water and environmental governance. More specifically, it asks a) what outputs policy forums produce and how they contribute to decision-making and conflict resolution in water and environmental policy, and b) how the design, the management and the interactions within policy forums affect their ability to produce outputs.

To answer these questions, the project aims at analyzing policy forums at two levels, i.e. the level of forums themselves as well as at the level of members of policy forums. Policy forums are compared a) within the same institutional context (i.e. Switzerland), comparing forums within the large domain of environmental policy (around 50 forums, such as “Water Agenda 21”, “Energy Switzerland”, “Knowledge Transfer Forest Switzerland”, “Forum Biodiversity”) and b) at the international level, focusing on water policy forums only (platforms comparable to the Swiss “Water Agenda 21” exist for example in the Netherlands, Sweden, the USA or Spain).

Team: Manuel Fischer, Simon Maag, Eawag

Research projects

Energy and Climate Change Policies

  • Future Energy Policy: how to make change happen? The acceptance of alternative electricity supply
  • The Politics of Hydraulic fracturing
  • Climate change adaptation strategies in Switzerland: competences and resources allocation in flood preventions
  • Decision-analysis in Swiss climate mitigation policy
  • Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviationg

Future Energy Policy: how to make change happen? The acceptance of alternative electricity supply

The overarching question in this project is about how effective policy change towards renewable energy can be achieved. In this vein, we start with the idea that effective policy change leading to the realization of regional and local renewable energy projects can be determined by assessing different aspects of “social acceptance”. We argue that – besides technology acceptance by the market – the acceptance of policies and instrument mixes is a crucial pre-condition for project success. So we concentrate on the acceptance of policies and instrument mixes (e.g., regulatory and incentive measures) by (1) the political elite involved in energy policy decision-making (socio-political acceptance) and by (2) citizens as expressed through their vote or other political intervention (community acceptance).

Start: December 2014, duration: 3 years
Funding: NRP 71 SNF
Team: Karin Ingold, Lorenz Kammermann
Project partners and associate members:
Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen, Clau Dermont, Universität Bern;  Philip Thalmann, EPFL; Stefan Rieder, Interface Politikstudien

Related publications:

  • Markard, J., Suter, M., and Ingold, K.  Socio-technical transitions and policy change – Advocacy coalitions in Swiss energy policy. Environ. Innovation Soc. Transitions (2015),

The Politics of Hydraulic fracturing

Unconventional gas is extracted using new and controversial technologies of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fracking allows extracting sizable resources of natural gas from basins that were considered to be difficult or costly to exploit before. On the one hand, the extraction of unconventional gas can have important implications for the global energy market and geopolitical world map. On the other hand, fracking involves potential environmental risks such as the contamination of surface waters and aquifers, the causation of seismic activity, or the generation of fugitive methane emissions. The uncertainty with respect to the environmental impacts caused by fracking poses considerable challenges to political decision-making processes regulating fracking activities by increasing the difficulties in anticipating the behavior of actors and selecting appropriate policy instruments to tackle the uncertain problem.
This research project examines fracking politics in the UK and Switzerland. We ask which political conflicts and coalitions exist with respect to fracking regulation, what the resources and strategies of the actors and coalitions are, and how scientific and behavioral uncertainties influence political decision-making on this issue.

Start: September 2013
Team: Karin Ingold, Manuel Fischer
Project partners and associate members:
P. Cairney UStirling, T. Heykkila and C. Weible, UColorado

Climate change adaptation strategies in Switzerland: competences and resources allocation in flood preventions

This project addresses the research question on how Local Climate Change Adaptation Strategies are designed and may evolve. We strongly focus on the impact of extreme events on the design and policy formulation of adaptation measures. 
Climate Change Adaptation becomes nowadays particularly crucial in relation with the principles outlined in Integrated Water Resource Management addressing the challenge of coordinating the use of, and the protection of and from the resource water. The protection from the resource water makes the direct link to flood events and natural disasters that may be impacted by global climate change. Furthermore, the integration of user and protectionist principles can be seen as a way how to improve the adaptive capacity within the water sector in combination with a trans-sectoral approach. Thus integrated water resource management constitutes one major challenge of current and future generations when it comes to find sustainable responses to climate change impacts. We therefore compare the case of flood prevention – relatively explicitly driven by climate change adaptation measures – with the integration of environmental protection and user principles in water resource management.

Start: September 2014, duration: 3 years
Funding: Sinergia SNF
Team: Karin Ingold, Anik Glaus
Project partners and associate members:
Gunter Stephan and Ralph Winkler, Rolf Weingartner and Team, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern; Philip Thalmann, EPFL

Related publications:

  • Ingold, Karin (2014). How involved are they really? A comparative network analysis of the institutional drivers of local actor inclusion. Land Use Policy (online first).

  • Ingold K, Zimmermann W (2011) How and why forest managers adapt to socio-economic changes: a case study analysis in Swiss forest enterprises. Forest Policy and Economics 13: 97-103.

  • Ingold K, Balsiger J, Hirschi C (2010) Climate change in Mountain Regions: How local communities adapt to extreme events. Local Environment 15(7), 651-661.

Decision-analysis in Swiss climate mitigation policy

This research focus addresses the question how policy outputs in Swiss climate policy can be explained. Through an in-depth analysis of stakeholders’ policy preferences, we investigate what potential market-based instruments have in Switzerland to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and how international decisions, and mainly the Kyoto negotiations, impact Swiss decision-making. Through a longitudinal network analysis, actors’ configurations and power distribution are investigated and their impact on responses towards climate change assessed.

Related publications:

  • Ingold, K. (2015). ldentifizierung von Koalitionen in Politikprozessen illustriert anhand der Schweizer Klimapolitik. Zwei strukturelle Ansätze. In: Gamper, M.; Reschke, L.; Düring, M.: Knoten und Kanten III – Soziale Netzwerkanalyse in Geschichts- und Politikforschung. Transkript Verlag, Bielefeld.
  • Ingold, K., Christopoulos, D. (2015). The Networks of Political Entrepreneurs: A Case Study of Swiss Climate Policy. In: Narbutaité Aflaki, I., Petridou, E., Miles, L. (eds) Entrepreneurship in the Polis - Understanding Political Entrepreneurship. Ashgate.
  • Bronimann S., Appenzeller Ch., Croci M., Fuhrer J., Grosjean M., Hohmann R., Ingold K., Knutti R., Liniger M., Raible Ch., Röthlisberger R., Schär Ch., Scherrer S., Strassmann, K., Thalmann Ph. (2014). Climate change in Switzerland: A review of physical, institutional and political aspects. WIREs Climate Change 5(4):  DOI: 10.1002/wcc.280.
  • Ingold, Karin and Leifeld Philip (2014). Structural and Institutional Determinants of Influence Reputation: A Comparison of Collaborative and Adversarial Policy Networks in Decision Making and Implementation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. doi: 10.1093/jopart/muu043
  • Ingold, Karin and Manuel Fischer (2014). Drivers of Collaboration to Mitigate Climate Change: An Illustration of Swiss Climate Policy over 15 Years. Global Environmental Change (online first). (Correct Table 5: GECtable5_ger.pdf (pdf, 10KB))
  • Ingold K, Varone F (2012) Treating Policy Brokers Seriously: Evidence from the Climate Policy. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. First published online July 19, 2011 doi:10.1093/jopart/mur035
  • Ingold K (2011) Network Structures within Policy Processes: Coalitions, Power, and Brokerage in Swiss Climate Policy. Policy Studies Journal 39(3): 435-59.
  • Ingold K (2010) Apprendre pour le future: une analyse de la politique climatique suisse. Swiss Political Science Review 16(1), 43-76.
  • Ingold K (2008) Les mécanismes de décision: Le cas de la politique climatique Suisse. Politikanalysen, Rüegger Verlag, Zurich.
  • Ingold K, Bürgenmeier B (2008) Changements climatiques. In: Beat Bürgenmeier (ed) Politiques économiques du développement durable, Chapter 8. de Boeck, Bruxelles.
  • Ingold K (2007) The influence of actors’ coalition on policy choice: The case of the Swiss Climate Policy. In: Friemel Th (ed) Applications of Social Network Analysis. UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz.
  • Bürgenmeier B, Baranzini A, Ferrier C, Germond-Duret C, Ingold K, Perret S et al. (2006) Economics of climate policy and collective decision making. Climatic Change 79, 143-162.

Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviationg

Social-ecological systems (SES) of forest frontiers in the humid tropics ensure a complex mix of ecosystem service flows that support human well-being locally and provide environmental benefits worldwide. Yet, global forces have come to outweigh local determinants of land use change in these landscapes. Driven by demands for agricultural expansion, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and more, these forces increasingly encompass combined socio-economic and environmental interactions between two or more distant SES. The growing distance between supply and demand has been labeled as “telecoupling” and undermines ecosystem stewardship and SES’ adaptive capacities.

This project will build on research partnerships in Laos, Myanmar and Madagascar, linking case study research in concrete contexts with generalization and modelling. We will assess telecoupling in terms of the impact it has on land use and on ecosystem service flows and human well-being.

The PEGO subproject will identify the actors involved and study their relational patterns by means of Social Network Analysis (SNA). This will then be combined with a GIS-based analysis and modelling of ecosystem services supply. The three elements will inform analysis of the spatial patterns of trade-offs and related winners and losers.

Start: Spring 2015, duration: 4 years
Funding: R4D
Team: Manuel Fischer, Florence Metz, Karin Ingold
Project partners and associate members:
Peter Messerli, CDE University of Bern, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, ETH Zürich, Bruno Salomon Ramamonjisoa, University of Antananarivo,Khamla Phanvilay, National University of Laos,Win Myint, Environmental and Economic Research Institut, Yangon, Myanmar,Gudrun Schwilch, University of Bern,San Win, University of Forestry, Myanmar