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Relating the philosophy and practice of ecological economics: The role of concepts, models, and case studies in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research

  • Baumgärtner, Stefan
  • Becker, Christian
  • Frank, Karin
  • Müller, Birgit
  • Quaas, Martin

We develop a general and unifying methodology for ecological economics which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific combination of inter- and transdisciplinary research, and discuss the epistemological position on which this methodology is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we develop an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, (generic) models and case studies. This provides a systematic and integral view on ecological economics, and thus allows one to see the relationship between contributions to the field that have so far been perceived as very heterogeneous and largely unrelated. At the same time, this methodological framework may provide orientation for the further development of ecological economics.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
Pages: 384-393

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:384-393
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Becker, Christian & Faber, Malte & Hertel, Kirsten & Manstetten, Reiner, 2005. "Malthus vs. Wordsworth: Perspectives on humankind, nature and economy. A contribution to the history and the foundations of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 299-310, May.
  2. Martin F. Quaas & Stefan Baumgärtner, 2006. "Natural vs. financial insurance in the management of public-good ecosystems," Working Paper Series in Economics 34, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  3. Norton, Bryan G. & Noonan, Douglas, 2007. "Ecology and valuation: Big changes needed," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 664-675, September.
  4. Quaas, Martin F. & Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Frank, Karin & Muller, Birgit, 2007. "Uncertainty and sustainability in the management of rangelands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 251-266, April.
  5. Pezzey, J., 1992. "Sustainable Development Concepts; An Economic Analysis," Papers 2, World Bank - The World Bank Environment Paper.
  6. Hirsch Hadorn, Gertrude & Bradley, David & Pohl, Christian & Rist, Stephan & Wiesmann, Urs, 2006. "Implications of transdisciplinarity for sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 119-128, November.
  7. Muller, Adrian, 2003. "A flower in full blossom?: Ecological economics at the crossroads between normal and post-normal science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 19-27, April.
  8. Becker, Christian, 2006. "The human actor in ecological economics: Philosophical approach and research perspectives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 17-23, November.
  9. Faber, Malte, 2008. "How to be an ecological economist," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, May.
  10. Proops, John L. R., 1989. "Ecological economics: Rationale and problem areas," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-76, February.
  11. Faber, Malte & Frank, Karin & Klauer, Bernd & Manstetten, Reiner & Schiller, Johannes & Wissel, Christian, 2005. "On the foundation of a general theory of stocks," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 155-172, November.
  12. Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Faber, Malte & Manstetten, Reiner, 2006. "Relative and absolute scarcity of nature. Assessing the roles of economics and ecology for biodiversity conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 487-498, October.
  13. Costanza, Robert, 1989. "What is ecological economics?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-7, February.
  14. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin F., 2009. "Ecological-economic viability as a criterion of strong sustainability under uncertainty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2008-2020, May.
  15. Norgaard, Richard B., 1989. "The case for methodological pluralism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 37-57, February.
  16. Tacconi, Luca, 1998. "Scientific methodology for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 91-105, October.
  17. Muller, Birgit & Frank, Karin & Wissel, Christian, 2007. "Relevance of rest periods in non-equilibrium rangeland systems - A modelling analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-3), pages 295-317, January.
  18. Ropke, Inge, 2005. "Trends in the development of ecological economics from the late 1980s to the early 2000s," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 262-290, November.
  19. George A. Akerlof, 2007. "The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 5-36, March.
  20. Funtowicz, Silvio O. & Ravetz, Jerome R., 1994. "The worth of a songbird: ecological economics as a post-normal science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 197-207, August.
  21. Martin F. Quaas & Stefan Baumgärtner, 2006. "The Private and Public Insurance Value of Conservative Biodiversity Management," Working Paper Series in Economics 33, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  22. Gowdy, John M. & Ferreri Carbonell, Ada, 1999. "Toward consilience between biology and economics: the contribution of Ecological Economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 337-348, June.
  23. Max-Neef, Manfred A., 2005. "Foundations of transdisciplinarity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 5-16, April.
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