Learning to shield - Policy learning in socio-technical transitions

Wouter P C Boon*, Sjoerd Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The dynamics of protection in the context of socio-technical niches have remained under-researched. In this paper we conceptualise the process of policy learning in the context of transitions. We show that a variety of actors inside and outside a technological niche have to learn about the implications and effects of regulations aimed at protection of niches. We analyse this process of policy learning in two cases: high-need drugs and electric vehicles. We conclude that both regulators and the regulated need to learn about the width and depth of protection measures, their duration, the specific set of tools used, and their legitimisation. A crucial issue of implementing protective regulation is the question on what level of aggregation protection measures need to be applied. Learning is often part of the negotiation process between the protector and the protected, but in many cases learning only takes place after policies have been implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Electric vehicles
  • Learning
  • Niche
  • Pharmaceutical sector
  • Protective space
  • Regulation


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