Panel 03 (Lindner)

Unravelling sustainability outcomes of public policies across Asia

Panel organizer

Jonas Lindner, MSc (University of Würzburg)



Panel abstract

Sustainability is a multidimensional concept that encompasses a broad range of aspects and objectives. The widely acclaimed Brundtland report breaks sustainability down into three areas: environmental, social and economic sustainability. While each area comes with its own set of objectives, the overarching goal is to balance the three dimensions. At the same time, there may exist conflicts among the three dimensions and different groups of people at certain points in time may attach varying importance to each of the objectives.

Public policy has the power to prioritise some goals over others and thus shapes sustainability outcomes. However, the policy-making process and the effects of public policy are themselves influenced by a range of factors. First, local factors determine which issues become political problems and thus move to the political agenda. Therefore, policy goals may differ between polities. But even if the goal is the same, the design of the corresponding policy may still differ. Moreover, public policy may not work as intended or have unexpected side-effects that impose disproportionate societal costs. Finally, national policies do not only change conditions within national borders, but effects can unfold across nations. In conclusion, the design of public policy is dependent on a wide range of factors and policies can have intertwined and unexpected outcomes. Thus, analysing public policies and their effect on sustainability across polities can help untangle the interrelated and multidimensional effects of public policy on sustainability. We therefore ask, how do public policies shape sustainability outcomes across Asia? In this panel, we break down public policies and their effect on environmental, social and economic sustainability in Asia. Taking the analysis one step further, we also compare public policies and their sustainability effects across different regions in Asia. By taking an interdisciplinary and inter-regional approach, we are able to uncover hitherto unknown interlinkages and add to the academic discourse on sustainability. We are also able to add to the creation of a more nuanced picture of ‘Sustainability “Made in Asia”’.

Paper submission

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