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Relating the Philosophy and Practice of Ecological Economics. The Role of Concepts, Models, and Case Studies in Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research

  • Stefan Baumgärtner


    (Centre for Sustainability, Leuphana University of Lüneburg)

  • Christian Becker

    (Research Centre for Environmental Economics, University of Heidelberg, Germany)

  • Karin Frank

    (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research,Leipzig, Germany)

  • Birgit Müller

    (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research,Leipzig, Germany)

  • Martin F. Quaas


    (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle)

We develop a comprehensive multi-level approach to ecological economics (CML-approach) which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific combination of inter- and transdisciplinary research, and discuss the epistemological position on which this approach is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we develop an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, models and case studies. We explain these levels in detail, and, in particular, deduce our way of generic modeling in this context. Finally, we illustrate the CML-approach and demonstrate its fruitfulness by the example of the sustainable management of semi-arid rangelands.

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Paper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 75.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:75
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  1. Ropke, Inge, 2005. "Trends in the development of ecological economics from the late 1980s to the early 2000s," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 262-290, November.
  2. Faber, Malte, 2008. "How to be an ecological economist," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, May.
  3. Norgaard, Richard B., 1989. "The case for methodological pluralism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 37-57, February.
  4. Tacconi, Luca, 1998. "Scientific methodology for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 91-105, October.
  5. Becker, Christian & Faber, Malte & Hertel, Kirsten & Manstetten, Reiner, 2005. "Malthus vs. Wordsworth: Perspectives on humankind, nature and economy. A contribution to the history and the foundations of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 299-310, May.
  6. Pezzey, J., 1992. "Sustainable Development Concepts; An Economic Analysis," Papers 2, World Bank - The World Bank Environment Paper.
  7. Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Faber, Malte & Manstetten, Reiner, 2006. "Relative and absolute scarcity of nature. Assessing the roles of economics and ecology for biodiversity conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 487-498, October.
  8. Quaas, Martin F. & Baumgärtner, Stefan, 2008. "Natural vs. financial insurance in the management of public-good ecosystems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 397-406, April.
  9. Muller, Adrian, 2003. "A flower in full blossom?: Ecological economics at the crossroads between normal and post-normal science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 19-27, April.
  10. Faber, Malte & Frank, Karin & Klauer, Bernd & Manstetten, Reiner & Schiller, Johannes & Wissel, Christian, 2005. "On the foundation of a general theory of stocks," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 155-172, November.
  11. George A. Akerlof, 2007. "The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 5-36, March.
  12. Proops, John L. R., 1989. "Ecological economics: Rationale and problem areas," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-76, February.
  13. Quaas, Martin F. & Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Frank, Karin & Muller, Birgit, 2007. "Uncertainty and sustainability in the management of rangelands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 251-266, April.
  14. Max-Neef, Manfred A., 2005. "Foundations of transdisciplinarity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 5-16, April.
  15. Hirsch Hadorn, Gertrude & Bradley, David & Pohl, Christian & Rist, Stephan & Wiesmann, Urs, 2006. "Implications of transdisciplinarity for sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 119-128, November.
  16. Costanza, Robert, 1989. "What is ecological economics?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-7, February.
  17. Stefan Baumgärtner & Martin F. Quaas, 2007. "Ecological-economic viability as a criterion of strong sustainability under uncertainty," Working Paper Series in Economics 67, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  18. Martin F. Quaas & Stefan Baumgärtner, 2006. "The Private and Public Insurance Value of Conservative Biodiversity Management," Working Paper Series in Economics 33, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  19. Norton, Bryan G. & Noonan, Douglas, 2007. "Ecology and valuation: Big changes needed," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 664-675, September.
  20. Muller, Birgit & Frank, Karin & Wissel, Christian, 2007. "Relevance of rest periods in non-equilibrium rangeland systems - A modelling analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-3), pages 295-317, January.
  21. Funtowicz, Silvio O. & Ravetz, Jerome R., 1994. "The worth of a songbird: ecological economics as a post-normal science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 197-207, August.
  22. Becker, Christian, 2006. "The human actor in ecological economics: Philosophical approach and research perspectives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 17-23, November.
  23. Gowdy, John M. & Ferreri Carbonell, Ada, 1999. "Toward consilience between biology and economics: the contribution of Ecological Economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 337-348, June.
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