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Avoiding Environmental Convergence: A Possible Role for Sustainability Experiments in Latecomer Countries?

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Author Info

  • Frans Berkhout

    ()
    (Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam The Netherlands)

  • Anna J. Wieczorek

    ()
    (Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Rob Raven

    ()
    (School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology EindhovenThe Netherlands)

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    Abstract

    Global sustainability is increasingly influenced by economic growth and social change in non-OECD countries, especially in Asia. Growth models suggest that industrializing economies will become first relatively more resource- and pollution-intensive, before becoming more resource-efficient and less polluting, following the pattern of higherincome economies. This ‘environmental convergence’ is assumed to parallel economic convergence during processes of catching-up by latecomer countries. To accelerate environmental convergence, or to achieve pathways of ‘green growth’, greater emphasis needs to be placed on sustainable innovation and capability-building in latecomer countries. Drawing on insights from system innovation research on long-run change in socio-technical systems, we discuss the potential role of ‘sustainability experiments’ to generate innovations that will constitute new ‘greener’ growth models. We observe a great number of sustainability-oriented innovation initiatives in latecomer countries. We set out a conceptual framework for assessing the role of experiments, and for evaluating how they link with and become anchored in alternative more sustainable regimes. We argue that sustainability experiments represent a potentially significant new source of innovation and capabilityformation, linked to global knowledge and technology flows, which could influence emergent socio-technical regimes and thereby contribute to alternative development pathways.

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    File URL: http://ijie.um.edu.my/RePEc/umk/journl/v3i2/Fulltext9.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya in its journal International Journal of Institutions and Economies.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 367-385

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    Handle: RePEc:umk:journl:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:367-385

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    Related research

    Keywords: - convergence; multi-level perspective; sustainability experiment; system innovation;

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    References

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    1. Bas ter Weel & L. Soete & B. Verspagen, 2010. "Systems of innovation," CPB Discussion Paper 138, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
      • Soete, Luc & Verspagen, Bart & Weel, Bas ter, 2009. "Systems of Innovation," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Mark Strazicich & John List, 2003. "Are CO 2 Emission Levels Converging Among Industrial Countries?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(3), pages 263-271, March.
    3. Unruh, Gregory C., 2000. "Understanding carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 817-830, October.
    4. Rock, Michael T. & Angel, David P., 2005. "Industrial Transformation in the Developing World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199270040.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hansen , Teis & Coenen , Lars, 2013. "The Geography of Sustainability Transitions: A Literature Review," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2013/39, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    2. Hansen, Ulrich Elmer & Nygaard, Ivan, 2014. "Sustainable energy transitions in emerging economies: The formation of a palm oil biomass waste-to-energy niche in Malaysia 1990–2011," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 666-676.

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