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Economic Schools of Thought on the Environment: Investigating Unity and Division

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  • Clive L. Spash
  • Anthony Ryan

Abstract

How do ecological and heterodox economists differ, if at all, from each other and from neoclassical economists addressing environmental problems? In 2009 we probed this question by conducting an international survey across these communities, namely at conferences of the European Society for Ecological Economics, the Association for Heterodox Economics, and the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. The research was designed to gain insight into the extent to which ecological economics can be described as heterodox and a distinct field from orthodox environmental and resource economics. Conflicting visions of ecological economics have led to a prevalence of neoclassical articles and thought mixed in amongst more heterodox work. We introduce a novel classification of work in the field of environmental policy in order to test for the existence of differences in terms of methodological and ideological approaches. How heterodox economists understand environmental issues is also an important question to answer if there is to be more collaboration between them and ecological economists. The findings have implications for cooperation and the future direction of both ecological and heterodox economics. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive L. Spash & Anthony Ryan, 2012. "Economic Schools of Thought on the Environment: Investigating Unity and Division," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(5), pages 1091-1121.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:36:y:2012:i:5:p:1091-1121
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bes023
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Carattini & Alessandro Tavoni, 2016. "How green are green economists?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(4), pages 2311-2323.
    2. Plumecocq, Gaël, 2014. "The second generation of ecological economics: How far has the apple fallen from the tree?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 457-468.
    3. Emanuele Felice, 2016. "The Misty Grail: The Search for a Comprehensive Measure of Development and the Reasons for GDP Primacy," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(5), pages 967-994, September.
    4. Spash, Clive L., 2017. "The Need for and Meaning of Social Ecological Economics," SRE-Discussion Papers 5500, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    5. repec:feu:wfeppr:y:2014:m:11:d:0:i:18 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Spash, Clive L., 2013. "The shallow or the deep ecological economics movement?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 351-362.
    7. Gruszka, Katarzyna & Scharbert, Annika Regine & Soder, Michael, 2017. "Leaving the mainstream behind? Uncovering subjective understandings of economics instructors' roles," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 485-498.
    8. Remig, Moritz C., 2017. "Structured pluralism in ecological economics — A reply to Peter Söderbaum's commentary," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 533-537.
    9. Green, Tom L., 2013. "Teaching (un)sustainability? University sustainability commitments and student experiences of introductory economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 135-142.
    10. Lynne Chester & Joy Paton, 2013. "The economic–environment relation: can post-Keynesians, Régulationists and Polanyians offer insights?," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 10(1), pages 106-121.
    11. Remig, Moritz C., 2015. "Unraveling the veil of fuzziness: A thick description of sustainability economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 194-202.
    12. Fontana, Giuseppe & Sawyer, Malcolm, 2016. "Towards post-Keynesian ecological macroeconomics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 186-195.
    13. Morgan, Jamie, 2017. "Piketty and the Growth Dilemma Revisited in the Context of Ecological Economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 169-177.
    14. Voloshinskaya, Anna A. & Komarov, Vladimir M. & Kotsyubinskiy, Vladimir A., 2017. "Contemporary Theories of Sustainable Development: Approaches, Methodology, Practical Recommendations," Working Papers 021702, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

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