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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Mulder, 2001. "Evolutionary Economic Theories of Sustainable Development," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 110-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:32:y:2001:i:1:p:110-134
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2014. "Sustainable development in ecological economics," Chapters,in: Handbook of Sustainable Development, chapter 3, pages 41-54 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Carrillo-Hermosilla, Javier, 2006. "A policy approach to the environmental impacts of technological lock-in," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, pages 717-742.
    3. 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, pages 597-614.
    4. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Giovanni Marin & Susanna Mancinelli & Francesco Nicolli, 2015. "Carbon dioxide reducing environmental innovations, sector upstream/downstream integration and policy: evidence from the EU," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, pages 709-735.
    5. Joan Hoffman, 2008. "Census Peek: Collaboration in the New York City Catskill/Delaware Watershed: Case Study 1990–2000," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, pages 129-156.
    6. Gunes UNAL & Sakir Basaran & Selcuk KENDIRLI, 2014. "Sustainable Environment and in the Context of Environment Economy Necessary and an Analyse," Journal of Economic Development, Environment and People, Alliance of Central-Eastern European Universities, pages 5-14.
    7. Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary thinking in environmental economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, pages 521-549.
    8. Javier Carrillo, 2004. "Prospective voluntary agreements to escape carbon lock-in," Working Papers Economia wp04-23, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    9. 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.
    10. M.A.B. Siddique & M.A. Quaddus, 2013. "Sustainable development planning and DSS tools: what’s next?," Chapters,in: Handbook of Sustainable Development Planning, chapter 15, pages 359-380 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary Thinking in Environmental Economics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-018/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. 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.
    13. Pierre Le Masne, 2012. "Sustainable Development: The Teachings of the Physiocrats and the Classics," Chapters,in: Crisis, Innovation and Sustainable Development, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Giovanni Marin & Francesca Lotti, 2017. "Productivity effects of eco-innovations using data on eco-patents," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 125-148.
    15. M. A. Quaddus & M. A.B. Siddique (ed.), 2013. "Handbook of Sustainable Development Planning," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14372.
    16. Konnola, Totti & Unruh, Gregory C. & Carrillo-Hermosilla, Javier, 2006. "Prospective voluntary agreements for escaping techno-institutional lock-in," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, pages 239-252.
    17. Rammel, Christian & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2003. "Evolutionary policies for sustainable development: adaptive flexibility and risk minimising," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, pages 121-133.
    18. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2007. "Sustainable Development in Ecological Economics," Chapters,in: Handbook of Sustainable Development, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Gunes UNAL & Sakir Basaran & Selcuk KENDIRLI, 2014. "Sustainable Environment and in the Context of Environment Economy Necessary and an Analyze," International Conference on Economic Sciences and Business Administration, Spiru Haret University, pages 318-326.
    20. Totti Könnölä & Gregory C. Unruh & Javier Carrillo- Hermosilla, 2005. "IE WP 23/04 Prospective Voluntary Agreements to Escape Carbon Lock-in," Others 0509005, EconWPA.
    21. 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.

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