Global Challenges, Governance, and Complexity
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Global Challenges, Governance, and Complexity

Applications and Frontiers

Edited by Victor Galaz

There is an increased interest in integrating insights from the complexity sciences to studies of governance and policy. While the issue has been debated, and the term of ‘complexity’ has multiple and sometimes contested interpretations, it is also clear the field has spurred a number of interesting theoretical and empirical efforts. The book includes key thinkers in the field, elaborates on different analytical approaches in studying governance, institutions and policy in the face of complexity, and showcases empirical applications and insights.
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Chapter 9: Complexity, resilience and economics

Anne-Sophie Crépin


Economic policies for complexity must tackle spatial variations, teleconnections, missing institutions, strategic interactions, fast and slow dynamics, feedback loops, uncertainties, and regime shifts. This chapter reflects on how resilience theory and economics could mutually benefit to better design such policies. The resilience principles suggest that three key social-ecological system properties (1. diversity and redundancy; 2. Connectivity; and 3. slow variables and feedbacks) must be managed and list four key attributes of governance (1. foster complex adaptive system thinking; 2. encourage learning; 3. broaden participation; and 4. promote polycentric governance). Insights from economics suggest strategic interactions as another key system properties to be managed and property rights as an additional key attribute of the governance system. Economics could also help understand and manage participation and polycentricity, set priorities for learning, assess causality, and improve emergence processes by designing policies to steer the social-ecological system toward a more desirable outcome.

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