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Behavioural Foundations of Sustainability Transitions. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 3

Miklós Antal, Ardjan Gazheli and Jeroen van den Bergh

in WIFO Studies from WIFO

Abstract: Writings on sustainability transitions generally do not say much about the particularities of the behavior of individuals and organisations. This is somewhat surprising since an important problem which transition management needs to tackle is inertia or resistance to change. Transition policy needs to account for the bounded rationality and social interaction of agents so as to arrive at a more realistic view of the limits and opportunities for realising a transition. System failures like lock-in, unpredictability and surprise in innovation systems, and network interaction between agents have received some attention, but their behavioural underpinnings can be improved. The identification of relevant stakeholders in transition processes and their unique behavioural features is crucial for understanding how to stimulate transitions. In this paper we investigate opportunities to integrate various theories and disciplinary views on behaviour into thinking about sustainability transitions with the aim to arrive at recommendations for more effective policies. For this purpose, we combine insights from the literature on agency in sustainability transitions, on environmental policy under bounded rationality and social interactions, and on behavioural foundations of learning and innovation.

Date: 2012 Written 2013-03-01
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