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Advanced Introduction to Ecological Economics

Matthias Ruth, Northeastern University, Boston, US
Any human endeavor is shaped by, and shapes, changes in the physical and biological environment. In this Advanced Introduction, Matthias Ruth draws on a diverse set of theories, methods and applications to critically assess key concepts in ecological economics.
Extent: c 160 pp
Hardback Price: $99.95 Web: $89.95
Publication Date: May 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78643 351 0
Availability: Not yet published
Paperback Price: $24.95 Web: $19.96
Publication Date: May 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78643 353 4
Availability: Not yet published
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  • Environment
  • Ecological Economics
Elgar Advanced Introductions are stimulating and thoughtful introductions to major fields in the social sciences and law, expertly written by the world’s leading scholars. Designed to be accessible yet rigorous, they offer concise and lucid surveys of the substantive and policy issues associated with discrete subject areas.

Any human endeavor is shaped by, and shapes, changes in the physical and biological environment. In this Advanced Introduction, Matthias Ruth draws on a diverse set of theories, methods and applications to critically assess key concepts in ecological economics.

Understanding biophysical foundations of economic growth and development is at the core of ecological economics. The author provides a precise introduction to the interdependencies between economic and environmental change, focusing on the fundamental dependence of the economy on the environment, as a provider of energy, materials and waste assimilation services.

Key features include:

• An advanced introduction to theories, methods and applications of ecological economics that are reflective rather than enumerative

• Clarification of the differences between traditional resource and environmental economics

• Valuable insights from the Global South as well as from experiences in industrialized countries to explore the topic in depth.


Offering a unique insight into a field that is still in its formative years of development, this concise and accessible Advanced Introduction will greatly benefit students, researchers and instructors in environmental science and ecological economics.
‘Ruth offers a compact, very readable introduction to the booming field of Ecological Economics as it seeks to trace the interdependencies among human activities and environmental change, focusing in particular on industrial market driven economies. With a very modest degree of mathematical formalization, it pays tribute to science disciplines like physics and ecology in understanding the effects of economic decisions on the biosphere, and makes brief but distinct excursions into mainstream economics to mark the specifics of the ecological economic approach.’
– Marina Fischer-Kowalski, University of Vienna, Austria

‘Being a diverse field, ecological economics tends to be interpreted in distinct ways by different authors. Ruth offers his own take in this concise treatment that quickly moves beyond basics to make the reader aware of the complications characterizing integrated studies. While one could argue with some of his conclusions, they are always richly laced with arguments and illustrations.’
– Jeroen van den Bergh, University of Barcelona, Spain and Vrije Universiteit, the Netherlands

‘This Advanced Introduction is introductory because it starts at the beginning. First principles of economics and ecology are united in a pre-analytic vision of the economy as a subsystem of the ecosphere. It is “advanced” because it rigorously elaborates that vision to explain ecological economics, with ample references to the literature, and admirable brevity. A splendid contribution!’
– Herman Daly, University of Maryland, US
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Economic Principles of Resource Use and Environmental Change 3. Models of the Economy, Society and Environment 4. Biophysical Principles 5. Technology and Innovation in their Economic, Social and Environmental Context 6. Complexity and the Challenges for Analysis and Management in a Full World References Index