Policies in the making: an anlysis of actors influencing Swedish ethanol politics

Stina Nilsson

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The thesis takes its point of departure in ethanol politics. More specifically in the Swedish government’s position regarding ethanol politics and what actors that are possibly influencing this position. The research question examined is; How, and to what extent, have different actors managed to influence the Swedish government’s position on ethanol? To answer the research question a social constructivist theory is used focusing on how the use of different kinds of ideas might influence the Swedish government’s positions regarding ethanol. Theoretically, the thesis is also influenced by a critical theory perspective since it scrutinizes how ideas in the form of underlying basic assumptions regarding ethanol are used by the involved actors. Furthermore, the interests represented by these actors are also highlighted to discuss what interest that might have an influence on the Swedish government’s position regarding ethanol politics. Through in-dept interviews with the chosen actors as well as representatives for the Swedish government and two political parties the perceived influence of the actors and methods to achieve this are scrutinized. It is argued that primarily two actors, a small interest organization, Gröna Bilister, and a company importing ethanol, SEKAB, are the two actors among the examined ones that have gained most influence on the Swedish government’s position regarding ethanol. The influence should not be exaggerated and it is generally hard to provide evidence on specific examples of influence. However, it is argued that regarding two specific issues; tax reduction for ethanol cars and an act prescribing that larger gasoline stations have to provide a renewable fuel the two actors seem to have had influence in the political decision-making process. It is also argued that a variety of methods have been used to gain influence by these actors. A strong impact in different kinds of media, direct contact with key politicians, a readiness to quickly respond to criticism put forward by actors with opposite opinions as well as cooperation with actors holding similar interests and referring to “legitimate organisations such as African farming organizations and the UN are regarded as the most important ones

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 maj 2010


  • Sweden
  • policy process
  • social constructivism
  • critical theory
  • ethanol