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Cognitive and institutional perspectives of eco effiency: A new research landscape towards factor four (or more)

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  • Bleischwitz, Raimund

Abstract

The paper sketches out a theoretical framework for analysing the interplaybetween eco-efficiency, cognition and institutions. It derives from analyticalshortfalls of the prevailing literature, which features strongly engineering andbusiness economics, by using insights from New Institutional Economics, fromCognitive Sciences and, partly, from Evolutionary Economics. It emphasises therole cognition and institutions play in the adoption of green technologies byfirms. A cognitive perspective derives from recent research on simple heuristicsand context-based rationality; it is proposed that those recent findings can serve toanalyse decision-making of individual actors or firms and, thus, should complement economic analysis. A second proposition is that eco-efficiency and normative rules such as a Factor Four strongly rely upon institutions, i.e. theability of institutions to evolve over time and the development of those institutionsthat are most appropriate to enhance technological change. In this regard, businessinstitutions and competition are crucial, but regulatory needs remain in order tosafeguard continuity of knowledge creation. The framework allows for an analysiswhy overall adoption of eco-efficiency still can be considered relatively slow andwhy some markets and firms are far ahead. As a brief case study the articlereflects upon German waste law's ability to enhance eco-efficiency. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy in its series Wuppertal Papers with number 123.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wuppap:123

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Web page: http://www.wupperinst.org/en/home/index.html

Related research

Keywords: Technical Change; Institutional Change; Cognition; Knowledge Creation; Environmental Management; Factor Four;

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  1. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1998. "On Custom in the Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292241, September.
  2. Wolfgang Kerber & Nicole J. Saam, 2001. "Competition As a Test of Hypotheses: Simulation of Knowledge-Generating Market Processes," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 4(3), pages 2.
  3. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  4. Soderbaum, Peter, 1999. "Values, ideology and politics in ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 161-170, February.
  5. Joseph Stiglitz, 1998. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: The Private Uses of Public Interests: Incentives and Institutions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
  6. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516 Elsevier.
  7. Richard R. Nelson, 1995. "Recent Evolutionary Theorizing about Economic Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 48-90, March.
  8. Brian J. Loasby, 2001. "special issue: Cognition, imagination and institutions in demand creation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 7-21.
  9. Arthur T. Denzau & Douglass C. North, 1993. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Economic History 9309003, EconWPA.
  10. Foray, Dominique, 1997. "The dynamic implications of increasing returns: Technological change and path dependent inefficiency," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 733-752, October.
  11. Hukkinen, Janne, 2001. "Eco-efficiency as abandonment of nature," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 311-315, September.
  12. Gerhard Wegner, 1997. "Economic Policy From an Evolutionary Perspective: A New Approach," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(3), pages 485-, September.
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