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Exploring the Approach of Institutional Economics to the Environment

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Spash, Clive L. & Villena, Mauricio G., 1999. "Exploring the Approach of Institutional Economics to the Environment," MPRA Paper 17278, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17278
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17278/1/MPRA_paper_17278.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rutherford,Malcolm, 1996. "Institutions in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521574471.
    2. Peter J. W. N. Bird, 1982. "Neoclassical and Post Keynesian Environmental Economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(4), pages 586-593, July.
    3. Kapp, K William, 1970. "Environmental Disruption and Social Costs: A Challenge to Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(4), pages 833-848.
    4. Spash, Clive L., 1994. "Double CO2 and beyond: benefits, costs and compensation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 27-36, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Soderbaum, Peter, 1992. "Neoclassical and institutional approaches to development and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 127-144, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Opschoor, Hans & van der Straaten, Jan, 1993. "Sustainable development: An institutional approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 203-222, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Schaltegger & Roger Burritt & Dimitar Zvezdov & Jacob Hörisch & Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, 2015. "Management Roles and Sustainability Information. Exploring Corporate Practice," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 25(4), pages 328-345, December.
    2. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Ecological Economics and Philosophy of Science: Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology and Ideology," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_03, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Paunić, Alida, 2016. "Brazil, Preservation of Forest and Biodiversity," MPRA Paper 71462, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Spash, Clive L., 2013. "The shallow or the deep ecological economics movement?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 351-362.
    5. Paavola, Jouni & Adger, W. Neil, 2005. "Institutional ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 353-368, May.
    6. Clive L Spash & Heinz Schandl, 2009. "Growth, the Environment and Keynes: Reflections on Two Heterodox Schools of Thought," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2009-01, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    7. Spash, Clive L., 2012. "New foundations for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 36-47.
    8. Gendron, Corinne, 2014. "Beyond environmental and ecological economics: Proposal for an economic sociology of the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 240-253.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    classical institutional economics; ecological economics; cumulative causation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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