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Evolutionary Policy

  • Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh
  • Giorgos Kallis

We explore the idea of public policy from the perspective of evolutionary thinking. This involves paying attention to concepts like diversity, population, selection, innovation, coevolution, group selection, path-dependence and lock-in. We critically discuss the notion of evolutionary progress. The relevance of evolutionary dynamics is illustrated for policy and political change, technical change, sustainability transitions and regulation of consumer behaviour. A lack of attention for the development of evolutionary policy criteria and goals is identified and alternative choices are critically evaluated. Finally, evolutionary policy advice is compared with policy advice coming from neoclassical economics, public choice theory and theories of resilience and adaptive management. We argue that evolutionary thinking offers a distinct and useful perspective on public policy design and change.

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File URL: ftp://137.248.191.199/RePEc/esi/discussionpapers/2009-02.pdf
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Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2009-02.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2009-02
Contact details of provider: Postal: Deutschhausstrasse 10, 35032 Marburg
Phone: 064212824257
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Web page: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb19/
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  1. Teubal, Morris, 1997. "A catalytic and evolutionary approach to horizontal technology policies (HTPs)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1161-1188, January.
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  4. Rammel, Christian & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2003. "Evolutionary policies for sustainable development: adaptive flexibility and risk minimising," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 121-133, December.
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  13. Kallis, Giorgos, 2010. "Coevolution in water resource development: The vicious cycle of water supply and demand in Athens, Greece," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 796-809, February.
  14. van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. & Gowdy, John M., 2009. "A group selection perspective on economic behavior, institutions and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-20, October.
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  17. Safarzynska, Karolina & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2010. "Evolving power and environmental policy: Explaining institutional change with group selection," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 743-752, February.
  18. Joëlle Noailly & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Cees A. Withagen, 2005. "Local and Global Interactions in an Evolutionary Resource Game," Working Papers 2005.78, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  19. Joëlle Noailly, 2008. "Coevolution of economic and ecological systems," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, February.
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  24. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & John M. Gowdy, 1998. "Evolutionary Theories in Environmental and Resource Economics: Approaches and Applications," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-122/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  33. Witt, Ulrich, 1992. " The Endogenous Public Choice Theorist," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 117-29, January.
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  37. Kallis, Giorgos, 2007. "When is it coevolution?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-6, April.
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