Exogenous factors in collective policy learning: the case of municipal flood risk governance in the Netherlands

Douwe L. De Voogt, James J. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Conceptualizing and analyzing collective policy learning processes is a major ongoing theoretical and empirical challenge. A key gap concerns the role of exogenous factors, which remains under-theorized in the policy learning literature. In this paper, we aim to advance the understanding of the role that exogenous factors play in collective learning processes. We propose a typology of exogenous factors (i.e. material, socioeconomic, institutional, discursive), and subsequently apply this in a comparative study of flood risk policymaking in two municipalities in the Netherlands. We find that exogenous factors are indeed essential for understanding collective learning in these cases, as the combined influence with endogenous factors can steer similar learning processes towards different learning products. We conclude our contribution by identifying two opportunities for further developing the collective learning framework, namely regarding the distinction of varying learning products, and the dynamics of exogenous factors over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-319
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Environmental governance
  • water governance
  • policy change
  • flood risk management
  • external factors
  • subnational governance


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