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Governing the Environment: the Intitutional Economics Approach


  • Arild Vatn


Governing the Environment: The Institutional Economics Approach - Analyzing environmental governance implies foremost to analyze institutional structures and their implications. In doing so, the present paper utilizes insights primarily from the tradition of classical institutional economics. The paper is divided in three. In the first part I describe the main features of the classical position and compare it briefly with that of neoclassical economics and the tradition of new institutional economics. In the second part I clarify what is considered the main aspects of governance as seen from an institutional perspective. In part three I move to the more specific area of environmental governance. The concept of resource regimes is defined. Moreover I analyze how different regimes influence which environmental problems appear and how they can be treated. I discuss how institutions influence the formation and articulation of knowledge and values, how they form and protect interests, how they influence the level of transaction costs and hence the possibilities for coordination, and finally how they form the motivations underlying human choices in concrete contexts. Given that all these variables are shown to be endogenous to the institutional system, the use of comparative analysis in the assessment of various governance options is emphasized. Keywords: classical institutional economics, interdependence, resource regimes, value articulation, interest protection, transaction costs, plural rationalities. JEL classifications: B52; Q50; D02; D70.

Suggested Citation

  • Arild Vatn, 2009. "Governing the Environment: the Intitutional Economics Approach," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(1), pages 61-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:fan:efeefe:v:html10.3280/efe2009-001005

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    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General


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