Evolutionary Economics and Environmental Policy

Evolutionary Economics and Environmental Policy

Survival of the Greenest

New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series

Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, Albert Faber, Annemarth M. Idenburg and Frans H. Oosterhuis

This study offers a unique evolutionary economics perspective on energy and innovation policies in the wider context of the transition to sustainable development.

Chapter 6: Summary and Conclusions

Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, Albert Faber, Annemarth M. Idenburg and Frans H. Oosterhuis

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, evolutionary economics, environment, environmental economics


BRIEF SUMMARY The aim of this book has been to argue and illustrate that much can be learned from the insights and reasoning provided by modern evolutionary economics for the design of policies and institutions to foster a transition to an environmentally sustainable economy, with a special focus on the transition to a sustainable energy system. For this purpose, a theoretical framework was developed based on six key concepts: diversity, innovation, selection environment, bounded rationality, path dependence and lock-in, and co-evolution. The framework has been derived from a general analysis of the evolutionary economics literature. By applying this framework, insights regarding the content of transition management have been obtained. From this it follows that transition policy is a combination of elements from environmental regulation, stimulating unlocking and innovation policy. Three types of analyses have been offered to support our findings. First, transition policy and management was analysed at a very general and conceptual level, resulting in a set of guidelines. Second, current and intended Dutch government policies aimed at stimulating technological and organizational innovations in energy systems have been evaluated on the basis of the evolutionary-economic framework, making use of the most important policy documents available. Finally, based on the theoretical framework, a detailed illustrative analysis of the development of three quite different energy technologies – namely fuel cells, nuclear fusion and solar cells – has been carried out. The following sections present a summary of the results and the main policy conclusions. 6.2 THE POLICY FRAMEWORK OFFERED BY EVOLUTIONARY...

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