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Eco-Innovation and Transitions

Rene Kemp

ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, 2009, vol. LII, issue 1, 103-124

Abstract: Eco-Innovation and Transitions - This paper is aimed at examining the scholarship on system innovation and societal transformation for sustainable development, which today is known as "transition management". In theoretical terms, the approach of transition management relies on markets, guidance in the form of goals and visions of sustainable development, network management with an element of self-organisation. Transition management could be viewed as "evolutionary governance" as it is concerned with the functioning of the variation-selection-retention process: creating variety informed by visions of the sustainability, shaping new paths and reflexively adapting existing institutional frameworks and regimes. It is a model for escaping lock-in and moving towards solutions offering multiple benefits, not just for users but also for society as a whole. It is not a megalomaniac attempt to control the future but an attempt to insert normative goals into evolutionary processes in a reflexive manner. The multilevel perspective of change and the model of goal-oriented modulation and reflexive governance, on which transition management is based, are described. Experiences with transition management in the Netherlands are described too, as well as the international debate on transition management as a model of governance for sustainable development. Keywords: eco-innovation, transition, reflexive governance, multi-level change, the Netherlands JEL classification: B52; Q50 Parole chiave: governance ambientale; fallimenti del mercato; esternalità; beni pubblici; economia del benessere; economia istituzionale.

Date: 2009
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