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Does Environmental Economics Produce Aeroplanes Without Engines? On the Need for an Environmental Social Science

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  • Henk Folmer

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  • Olof Johansson-Stenman

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Abstract

In this paper we first critically review conventional environmental economics. We conclude that the standard theory offers too narrow a perspective for many real world problems and that many theories are not empirically tested. Consequently, environmental economics is at risk of producing aeroplanes without engines. Next, we welcome and discuss some recent trends, particularly the rapid developments of behavioural and new institutional economics as well as the increased interest in empirical analysis. Yet, we conclude that more „logical duels between competing theories, more interaction between theory and empirics, and more integration between the social sciences are needed to achieve a better understanding of real world environmental problems and the development of adequate policy handles. Finally, we present an outline of steps towards the development of an environmental social science and briefly present the papers that make up this special issue as important building stones of such a discipline.
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Suggested Citation

  • Henk Folmer & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2011. "Does Environmental Economics Produce Aeroplanes Without Engines? On the Need for an Environmental Social Science," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 337-361, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:48:y:2011:i:3:p:337-361 DOI: 10.1007/s10640-010-9454-6
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Zhengtao & Folmer, Henk & Xue, Jianhong, 2014. "To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 88-99.
    2. Tang, Jianjun & Folmer, Henk & Xue, Jianhong, 2015. "Technical and allocative efficiency of irrigation water use in the Guanzhong Plain, China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 43-52.
    3. Bluffstone, Randy & Robinson, Elizabeth & Guthiga, Paul, 2013. "REDD+and community-controlled forests in low-income countries: Any hope for a linkage?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 43-52.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic methodology; Environmental economics; Experiments; Logical duels; Moral philosophy; Political science; Psychology; Sociology; Spatial sciences; Surveys; A12; B41; Q50;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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