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Technology and Instrument Constituencies as Agents of Innovation: Sustainability Transitions and the Governance of Urban Transport

Nihit Goyal () and Michael Howlett ()
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Nihit Goyal: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119077, Singapore
Michael Howlett: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119077, Singapore

Energies, 2018, vol. 11, issue 5, 1-14

Abstract: Sustainable urban transport is a complex challenge requiring innovation in technologies, culture, and policies. Given the systemic nature of the issues involved, numerous studies have applied the transitions approach to urban transport. However, relatively weak conceptualization of agency in the transitions literature limits the usefulness of this approach for the governance of urban transport. The objective of this study is to contribute to the conceptualization of agency in the multilevel perspective to sustainability transitions. We propose that two types of actors exercise agency to foster innovation: technology constituencies, who promote the adoption of specific technologies by citizens, businesses, or governments; and instrument constituencies, who promote the adoption of specific policy instruments. In focusing predominantly on technological innovation, the transitions literature has generally juxtaposed these constituencies or considered them to be the same. We posit that the two constitute distinct, albeit possibly overlapping, actors and that their relationship(s) help better understand and explain how transitions evolve. We discuss the implications of this distinction for the governance of urban transport and argue that the presence of instrument and technology constituencies, and their relationship(s), should be examined empirically in future research.

Keywords: agency; governance; innovation journey; instrument constituency; multilevel perspective; policy integration; sociotechnical transitions; technology constituency; urban mobility; urban transport (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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