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Overcoming inertia: insights from evolutionary economics into improved energy and climate policy

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  • Nathalie Lazaric

    (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (... - 2019) - COMUE UCA - COMUE Université Côte d'Azur (2015 - 2019) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Kevin Maréchal

    (ULB - Université libre de Bruxelles)

Abstract

The mainstream view in economics has been a key factor in designing climate policies. Given that the controversy over the "efficiency paradox" has shown that mainstream economics is not neutral in the way it deals with climate change, the purpose of this paper is to investigate what insights could come out of analysing this crucial issue through an alternative economic framework. The choice of an evolutionary line of thought is then quite straightforward. It stems from both its departure from the perfect rationality hypothesis and its shift of focus towards a better understanding of innovation, system change and economic dynamics. All together this renders evolutionary economics a suitable complementary framework for designing climate policies and for managing the needed transition towards a low carbon economy. Most notably, the evolutionary framework allows us to depict the presence of two sources of inertia (i.e at the levels of individuals through "habits" and at the level of socio-technical systems) that mutually reinforce each other in a path-dependent manner. Accordingly, decision-makers should design measures (e.g. commitment strategies, niche management, etc.) that specifically target those change-resisting factors as they tend to reduce the efficiency of traditional instruments.

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  • Nathalie Lazaric & Kevin Maréchal, 2010. "Overcoming inertia: insights from evolutionary economics into improved energy and climate policy," Post-Print hal-00452205, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00452205
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00452205
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    3. Monasterolo, Irene & Roventini, Andrea & Foxon, Tim J., 2019. "Uncertainty of climate policies and implications for economics and finance: An evolutionary economics approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 177-182.
    4. Steffen S. Bettin, 2020. "Electricity infrastructure and innovation in the next phase of energy transition—amendments to the technology innovation system framework," Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 371-395, November.
    5. Kelly Levin & Benjamin Cashore & Steven Bernstein & Graeme Auld, 2012. "Overcoming the tragedy of super wicked problems: constraining our future selves to ameliorate global climate change," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 45(2), pages 123-152, June.
    6. Martinsson, Johan & Lundqvist, Lennart J. & Sundström, Aksel, 2011. "Energy saving in Swedish households. The (relative) importance of environmental attitudes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5182-5191, September.
    7. Nathalie Lazaric & Vanessa Oltra, 2012. "Sustainable Consumption in an Evolutionary Framework: How to Foster Behavioural Change?," Chapters, in: Blandine Laperche & Nadine Levratto & Dimitri Uzunidis (ed.), Crisis, Innovation and Sustainable Development, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Chai, Andreas & Bradley, Graham & Lo, Alex & Reser, Joseph, 2015. "What time to adapt? The role of discretionary time in sustaining the climate change value–action gap," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 95-107.
    9. Belaïd, Fateh & Youssef, Adel Ben & Lazaric, Nathalie, 2020. "Scrutinizing the direct rebound effect for French households using quantile regression and data from an original survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
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