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Evolutionary Economic Theories of Sustainable Development

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  • Peter Mulder

Abstract

Sustainable development has become the dominant concept in the study of interactions between the economy and the biophysical environment, as well as a generally accepted goal of environmental policy. So far, economists have predominantly applied standard or neo-classical theory to environmental economic problems. In this article it will be argued that to fully understand a transformation of the economic system towards sustainability, standard environmental economics needs to be complemented by an evolutionary approach, that focuses the attention on irreversible, path-dependent change and long-run mutual selection of environmental and economic processes and systems. The article provides an overview of the main existing evolutionary contributions to environmental economics. Furthermore, a number of research directions of an evolutionary approach in environmental economics are discussed. It is suggested that such an approach should go beyond evolutionary theories of technical change, which dominate evolutionary economics so far, by including co-evolution of economy and environment, sustainable consumption, endogenous preference change, and climate change modeling. Copyright 2001 Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky in its journal Growth and Change.

Volume (Year): 32 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 110-134

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Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:32:y:2001:i:1:p:110-134

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Cited by:
  1. Totti Könnölä & Gregory C. Unruh & Javier Carrillo- Hermosilla, 2005. "IE WP 23/04 Prospective Voluntary Agreements to Escape Carbon Lock-in," Others 0509005, EconWPA.
  2. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2004. "Evolutionary Analysis of the Relationship between Economic Growth, Environmental Quality and Resource Scarcity," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-048/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Carrillo-Hermosilla, Javier, 2006. "A policy approach to the environmental impacts of technological lock-in," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 717-742, July.
  4. Seeme Mallick & Naghmana Ghani, 2005. "A Review of the Relationship between Poverty, Population Growth, and Environment," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 44(4), pages 597-614.
  5. Konnola, Totti & Unruh, Gregory C. & Carrillo-Hermosilla, Javier, 2006. "Prospective voluntary agreements for escaping techno-institutional lock-in," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 239-252, May.
  6. Javier Carrillo, 2004. "Prospective voluntary agreements to escape carbon lock-in," Working Papers Economia wp04-23, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
  7. Rammel, Christian & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2003. "Evolutionary policies for sustainable development: adaptive flexibility and risk minimising," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 121-133, December.
  8. Joan Hoffman, 2008. "Census Peek: Collaboration in the New York City Catskill/Delaware Watershed: Case Study 1990–2000," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 129-156, April.
  9. Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary thinking in environmental economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 521-549, October.
  10. Giulio Cainelli & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Simone Borghesi, 2012. "The European Emission Trading Scheme and environmental innovation diffusion: Empirical analyses using Italian CIS data," Working Papers 201201, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
  11. Simone Borghesi & Giulio Cainelli & Massimiliano Mazzanti, 2012. "Brown Sunsets and Green Dawns in the Industrial Sector: Environmental Innovations, Firm Behavior and the European Emission Trading," Working Papers 2012.03, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2004. "Evolutionary Analysis of the Relationship between Economic Growth, Environmental Quality and Resource Scarcity," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-048/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary Thinking in Environmental Economics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-018/3, Tinbergen Institute.

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