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Economic Schools of Thought on the Environment: Investigating Unity and Division

Clive Spash and Anthony Ryan

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2012, vol. 36, issue 5, 1091-1121

Abstract: How do ecological and heterodox economists differ, if at all, from each other and from neoclassical economists addressing environmental problems? In 2009 we probed this question by conducting an international survey across these communities, namely at conferences of the European Society for Ecological Economics, the Association for Heterodox Economics, and the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. The research was designed to gain insight into the extent to which ecological economics can be described as heterodox and a distinct field from orthodox environmental and resource economics. Conflicting visions of ecological economics have led to a prevalence of neoclassical articles and thought mixed in amongst more heterodox work. We introduce a novel classification of work in the field of environmental policy in order to test for the existence of differences in terms of methodological and ideological approaches. How heterodox economists understand environmental issues is also an important question to answer if there is to be more collaboration between them and ecological economists. The findings have implications for cooperation and the future direction of both ecological and heterodox economics. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Date: 2012
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