Economics and the environment since the 1950s – History, methodology and philosophy
Abstr. due: 12.10.2018
Dates: 01.03.19 — 17.03.19
Organizing comittee e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Organizers: Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in political economy And the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne
Environmental concerns emerged in economics during the 1950s. Some economists had focused on these issues before, but it is not until then that the environment really became an autonomous subject of economic study. During this period of strong demographic and economic growth in industrialized countries, this progressive recognition of environmental issues by economists was caused by natural resources depletion, ecosystems degradation, and pollution or harmful effects such as the first smog in London and Los Angeles or the chemical contamination of the Minamata Bay.
This workshop is devoted to the contemporary history of environmental issues in economics, and thus to this transition from a marginal specialization of a few pioneers to a recognized academic field. This new field has however been split into separate theoretical approaches: the development of environmental economics, which partly came from the new welfare economics and separated itself from the economics of natural resources; and the development of ecological economics which has been inspired by ecology and has tried to build up new analytical tools. This history has raised issues in theory (analytical concepts and framework), philosophy (the status given to nature, the weight given to future generations) and policy (the way new environmental policies finally prevail).
Contributions to the workshop could e.g. focus on the following issues:
- How has environmental economics emerged since the 1950s as a field different from natural resources economics? What has the role of American economists been, whether they were specialized in this field (Ayres, Kneese, D’Arge) or not (Galbraith, Mishan)? How has ecological economics been driven by both ecologists (Commoner, Odum) and economists (Fisher, Dasgupta, Mäler, Boulding, Georgescu-Roegen, Daly)? How have Marxist, post-Keynesian and institutional schools of economics addressed these issues?
- From a methodological point of view, how have these new issues been managed by existing theoretical frameworks? Environmental economics has adapted the neoclassical framework and concepts, notably those from the new welfare economics (market failure, externality, collective good, cost-benefit analysis, natural capital) to new environmental issues, while ecological economics
has tried to find new analytical approaches and has at the same time been affected by the same epistemological controversies that one can observe outside this field.
- From a policy point of view, how have these methodological propositions and the different policy recommendations been institutionalized? When it was decided to apply environmental policies, what were the policy demands addressed to economists? Inversely, by what means have recommendations by economists been treated by those responsible for policy? What has been for example the influence of institutions like Resources for the Future in the USA and the OECD or different agencies whose role has been to manage environmental issues at a national level?
- What have been the philosophical issues raised by these environmental issues, in terms of intra- or intergenerational justice (for example concerning discount rates), or in terms of the commodification of nature and more widely its monetization (through the valuation of damages or more recently of ecosystem services, or through allowance or permit markets)?
Proposals, in French or English, that focus on these issues from a historical perspective, from the 1950s onwards, will be welcome. The workshop is organized by the French journal Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne and will take place in March 2019. Some of the contributions could be published, in French or English, in a special issue of the journal in 2020.
Conference Web-Site: http://www.eshet.net/index.php?a=28