STV4341 – Comparative Environmental Politics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course, we will discuss why countries respond to environmental problems differently. First, we will talk about the nature of environmental problems and challenges associated with commitments to solve environmental problems. Second, we will discuss collective action theory and how to use it to analyze current small- and large-scale environmental problems. We will delve into the role of the state in tackling collective action problems and cover the basics of environmental policy-making. Third, we will talk about different political institutions and discuss whether they are favorable for tackling environmental problems. Among these institutions, we will discuss democracy vs authoritarian rule, bureaucratic capacity, corruption, rule of law and state-society relations. Fourth, we will analyze the role of public support in environmental policy-making and drivers of such public support.

Learning outcome


After the successful completion of the course students will:

  • Have an in-depth knowledge about various conceptualizations of environmental problems
  • Be able to explain collective action theory and social dilemmas
  • Be familiar with factors driving collective action, including trust.
  • Understand the role of the state in environmental governance and the environmental policy-making process
  • Know how and why various political factors drive differences in countries’ responses to environmental problems, including countries’ regime type, quality of government, state-society relations, people’s values, and public support for environmental policies.
  • Know main data sources on environmental policies, environmental outcomes, and environmental values


The students will be able to:

  • Use institutional theory to explain causes of environmental problems and lack of collective action as well as analyze institutions as solutions to environmental problems
  • Apply collection action theory to analyze various small-scale and large-scale environmental problems
  • Communicate academic knowledge in writing and orally


The students will

  • acquire an in-depth understanding of the politics behind environmental issues and processes driving countries’ different responses to environmental problems


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor degree in political science or equivalent.


Lectures and a discussion seminar.

Compulsory activities

  • One-page memo (preparation for the discussion seminar)
  • Discussion seminar

The course is taught in English, and the papers handed in must be written in English.

See guidelines for compulsory acitivities.

Absence from compulsory activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory activities, your absence need to be approved and you will need to submit a complementary assignment.


Term paper and an oral presentation.

The term paper:

The oral presentation will be held in a seminar after the submission of the term paper. 

You must pass the compulsory activities in order to be eligible to take the exam. 

    Grading scale

    Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

    Explanations and appeals

    Resit an examination

    If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

    See also our information about resitting an exam.

    Special examination arrangements

    Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


    The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

    Facts about this course






    Spring 2021

    This course is not given on a regular basis


    Spring 2021

    This course is not given on a regular basis

    Teaching language