IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Exploring the Approach of Institutional Economics to the Environment

  • Spash, Clive L.
  • Villena, Mauricio G.

A neglected aspect of ecological economics is the link to the social context. The socio-economic perspective extends standard economic analysis into concerns for distribution, ethics and the power of institutions which form and implement policy. We explore how an institutional perspective on ecological economics might operate and provide a distinct methodology. In order to understand the institutional approach and how it differs from the standard economic methodology a historical overview is provided. This allows us to identify key characteristics. Theories applying the institutional approach to environmental problems are then discussed. Our main aim is to bring together the key characteristics of institutional economics with reflections upon previous environmental applications to synthesise the basic principles of a socio-economic approach to the environment. This then provides the opportunity to investigate how far the institutional approach to environmental policy differs from the general approach provided by ecological economics in terms of the preconceptions and values identified with each of these perspectives. The paper concludes by discussing how an institutional economics methodology might be integrated with an ecological economics framework of analysis. The two approaches are found to have more in common with each other than either has with a neo-classical economics approach. A socio-economic perspective is seen as essential to developing effective policy and the institutional approach provides insights into how this might be brought into future analysis of environmental problems. However, several areas are identified where research is required if the two approaches are to be successfully integrated.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17278.

in new window

Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17278
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Klaassen, Ger A. J. & Opschoor, Johannes B., 1991. "Economics of sustainability or the sustainability of economics: Different paradigms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 93-115, November.
  2. Kapp, K William, 1970. "Environmental Disruption and Social Costs: A Challenge to Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(4), pages 833-48.
  3. Giuseppe Munda, 1997. "Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics, and the Concept of Sustainable Development," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 6(2), pages 213-233, May.
  4. Peter J. W. N. Bird, 1982. "Neoclassical and Post Keynesian Environmental Economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 4(4), pages 586-593, July.
  5. Rutherford,Malcolm, 1994. "Institutions in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521451895.
  6. Soderbaum, Peter, 1992. "Neoclassical and institutional approaches to development and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 127-144, May.
  7. Spash, Clive L., 1994. "Double CO2 and beyond: benefits, costs and compensation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 27-36, May.
  8. Opschoor, Hans & van der Straaten, Jan, 1993. "Sustainable development: An institutional approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 203-222, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17278. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.