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Ecological sufficiency, individual liberties, and distributive justice: Implications for policy making

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  • Heindl, Peter
  • Kanschik, Philipp

Abstract

We investigate the prospects of voluntary ecological sufficiency for environmental and climate policy under the constraints implied by political liberalism. We find that freedom of choice restricts sufficiency to rather wealthy societies and that a sufficiency threshold cannot be derived by referring to the poor. Sufficiency can be in conflict with the demands of social justice, i.e. if the sufficiency threshold is below the social minimum implied by social justice. Benefits from sufficiency are highly related to individual perceptions. Such benefits cannot be expressed in a standard preference framework. Consequently, alternative measures of welfare and inequality are required if sufficiency is a significant phenomenon in society. 'Standard' environmental policies can have a pronounced interaction with voluntary sufficiency, i.e. if 'quantity regulation' is present. Overall, the voluntary notion of sufficiency causes a dilemma as sufficiency is largely a matter of civil society. However, voluntary sufficiency is expected to make important contributions to the preservation of ecological resources if properly balanced with social and environmental policies and framed by public discursive control.

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  • Heindl, Peter & Kanschik, Philipp, 2016. "Ecological sufficiency, individual liberties, and distributive justice: Implications for policy making," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-023, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:16023
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    Cited by:

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    2. Frondel, Manuel & Schubert, Stefanie A., 2021. "Carbon pricing in Germany's road transport and housing sector: Options for reimbursing carbon revenues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    3. Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Kester, Johannes & Noel, Lance & de Rubens, Gerardo Zarazua, 2019. "Energy Injustice and Nordic Electric Mobility: Inequality, Elitism, and Externalities in the Electrification of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Transport," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 205-217.
    4. Matthew J. Burke, 2020. "Energy-Sufficiency for a Just Transition: A Systematic Review," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(10), pages 1-14, May.
    5. Mauerhofer, Volker, 2019. "Legal Institutions and Ecological Economics: Their Common Contribution for Achieving a Sustainable Development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 350-359.
    6. Baumgartner, Anne & Krysiak, Frank C. & Kuhlmey, Florian, 2022. "Sufficiency without regret," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    7. Agni Kalfagianni & Lena Partzsch & Miriam Beulting, 2020. "Governance for global stewardship: can private certification move beyond commodification in fostering sustainability transformations?," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 37(1), pages 65-81, March.
    8. Jungell-Michelsson, Jessica & Heikkurinen, Pasi, 2022. "Sufficiency: A systematic literature review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    9. Hernández, Mauricio & Chávez-Bustamante, Felipe, 2024. "Sufficiency between producers and consumers: A configurational analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 218(C).

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    ecological sufficiency; freedom; distributive justice; environmental policy; climate policy;
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