Handbook of Ecological Economics


Handbook of Ecological Economics

9781783471409 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Joan Martínez-Alier, Professor of Economics and Economic History, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, Recipient of the Balzan Prize in 2020 and the Holberg Prize in 2023 and Roldan Muradian, Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program of Economics, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil
Publication Date: 2015 ISBN: 978 1 78347 140 9 Extent: 512 pp
This Handbook provides an overview of major current debates, trends and perspectives in ecological economics. It covers a wide range of issues, such as the foundations of ecological economics, deliberative methods, the de-growth movement, ecological macroeconomics, social metabolism, environmental governance, consumer studies, knowledge systems and new experimental approaches. Written by leading authors in their respective areas of specialisation, the contributions systematize the ‘state of the art’ in the selected topics, and draw insights about new knowledge frontiers.

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This comprehensive Handbook neatly encapsulates the field of ecological economics, the fluid interface between the economic and ecological systems. Leading scholars systematize the state-of-the-art and put forward their insights about future development in their respective areas of expertise. The result is a compendium of stimulating and outstanding contributions, interesting for both junior and more experienced readers alike.

Subjects covered include the analytical and philosophical foundations of ecological economics, deliberative valuation methods, social metabolism, ecological macroeconomics, the de-growth movement, socio-environmental conflicts, the scope and valuation of ecosystem services, traditional ecological knowledge, social dilemmas in common pool resource management; consumption patterns, global environmental governance and emerging tools for dealing with environmental problems, such as payments for ecosystem services.

Covering the most salient topics in the field of ecological economics and with a wide scope, from philosophical foundations to practical applications, this book will be invaluable to students, scholars, researchers and policy makers.
Critical Acclaim
‘This volume is a much-needed addition to the literature on ecological economics. The essays in this volume represent a return to the basic ontological foundations which distinguished the field from standard economics at its inception over three decades ago—the insistence that the economy is grounded in biophysical reality and that human needs cannot be reduced to economic calculation. As the authors argue, the inspiration for a revitalization of ecological economics lies not in welfare economics but in new developments in the biophysical and behavioral sciences.’
– John Gowdy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US

''What is distinct about ecological economics? This excellent volume, with essays by some of the leading thinkers in the field, provides answers. Tracing its history, its ontological foundations, and its future directions, this Handbook not only delineates the essential features of an expanding area of knowledge, it also demonstrates the critical importance of interdisciplinary and institutional approaches to finding solutions.''
– Bina Agarwal, University of Manchester, UK
Contributors: D.N. Barton, L. Braat, J.C. Cárdenas, M. de Carvalho Amazonas, E. Coudel, R. de Groot, L. Eloy, J. Ferreira, M. Fischer-Kowalski, E. Gómez-Baggethun, A. Guarín, H. Haberl, M. Hercowitz, G. Kallis, B. Martín-López, J. Martínez-Alier, L. Mattos, P. May, B. Muraca, R. Muradian, A. Nadal, J. O''Neill, P. Petridis, M.-G. Piketty, V. Reyes-García, I. Ring, B. Rodríguez-Labajos, I. Røpke, I. Scholz, C.L. Spash, F. Toni, T. Uebel, A. Vatn, P.A. Victor, C. Zografos


1. Taking Stock: The Keystones of Ecological Economics
Joan Martínez-Alier and Roldan Muradian

2. The Content, Direction and Philosophy of Ecological Economics
Clive L. Spash

3. Analytical Philosophy and Ecological Economics
John O’Neill and Thomas Uebel

4. Value Deliberation in Ecological Economics
Christos Zografos

5. Social Metabolism: A Metrics for Biophysical Growth and Degrowth
Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Helmut Haberl

6. Macroeconomic Policies and Environmental Sustainability
Alejandro Nadal

7. Modeling a Non-Growing Economy: An Autobiographical Note
Peter A. Victor

8. Degrowth: Between a Scientific Concept and a Slogan for a Social Movement
Panos Petridis, Barbara Muraca and Giorgos Kallis

9. Water: Ecological Economics and Socio-environmental Conflicts
Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos and Joan Martínez-Alier

10. The Contributions of the Ecosystem Services Paradigm to Sustainability Science, Policy and Practice
Rudolf de Groot and Leon Braat

11. Ecological Economics Perspectives on Ecosystem Services Valuation
Erik Gómez-Baggethun and Berta Martin-López

12. The Values of Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Victoria Reyes-Garcia

13. From Conventional Economics to Complexity in Social Dilemmas: Lessons from CPR Experiments in the Lab and the Field
Juan Camilo Cárdenas

14. Sustainable Consumption – Transitions, Systems and Practices
Inge Røpke

15. Consumers, The Environment, and the New Global Middle Classes
Alejandro Guarín and Imme Scholz

16. Global Environmental Governance
Arild Vatn

17. Economic Instruments in Policy Mixes for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Governance
Irene Ring and David N. Barton

18. The Rise of PES in Brazil: From Pilot Projects to Public Policies
Emilie Coudel, Joice Ferreira, Maurício de Carvalho Amazonas, Ludivine Eloy, Marcelo Hercowitz, Luciano Mattos, Peter May, Roldhan Muradian, Marie-Gabrielle Piketty and Fabiano Toni

19. Looking Forward: Current Concerns and the Future of Ecological Economics
Joan Martínez-Alier and Roldan Muradian


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