Project > Research Areas > Area 2

The Area Work Packages

Work package 201: Assessing Past Transitions

Work package 202: Examining Cultural and Well-being Dimensions of Transitions

Work package 203: Behavioural Aspects of Transitions

Work package 204: Biophysical Scenarios for Resource Constraints

Work package 205: Consequences and Policies under Binding Biophysical Constraints

Work package 206: Well-being and Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA)


Policy Briefs

Kurt Kratena and Mark Sommer, Policy implications of resource constraints on the European economy, WWWforEurope Policy Brief No. 6, November 2014

Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Dominik Wiedenhofer, An optimal policy mix for resource use, WWWforEurope Policy Brief No. 5, September 2014


Most recent publications

Mikulas Luptácik, Eduard Nežinský and Martin Lábaj, Drivers of the change in social welfare, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 105, July 2015

Dominik Wiedenhofer and Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Achieving absolute decoupling? Comparing biophysical scenarios and macro-economic modelling results, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 86, February 2015

Bernhard Rengs, Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, Ardjan Gazheli, Miklós Antal and Jeroen van den Bergh, Testing innovation, employment and distributional impacts of climate policy packages in a macro-evolutionary systems setting, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 83, February 2015

Area 2 - The Environmental and Biophysical Dimension

Area 2 provides evidence for designing policies aimed at minimising the conflict between employment, equity and sustainability, using welfare indicators beyond traditional GDP measures


Aim

Rising scarcities of fossile fuel and other resources, increasing carbon emissions (IPCC 2007), severe biodiversity loss (MEA 2005), and emerging risks of going beyond the safe biophysical "operating space" require novel policies that support a socio-ecological transition (also known as a sustainability transition or a social-technical transition to a sustainable economy).

Area 2 will assess socio-ecological transitions using a variety of methodological approaches such as macroeconomic modelling, material and energy flow analysis, behavioural and technological innovation analysis, and historical case study analysis. This will allow assessing economic costs and benefits of transitions, as well as technical and behavioural barriers and rebound effects as to provide a basis for formulating effective, efficient and feasible policies for a "high road path".

The feedback mechanisms between macroeconomic policies and climate change mitigation or adaptation are still not well understood and – with some of the exceptions being Victor (2008) and Jackson (2009) – have not been studied in depth. Current research usually focuses on either issue (economic growth or biophysical environment) separately and assumes the other objective as given. Growth models on the one hand have been used to explain economic growth and how it can be increased. On the other hand, economists and environmental scientists have been collaborating on integrated analyses for understanding the environmental impacts of economic activity such as the complex phenomenon of climate change.

At the same time, using GDP as the main metric for measuring economic success has been criticised. Growth measured by GDP is a means to an end and its efficiency in delivering employment and long-term prosperity is currently in debate (Stiglitz et al. 2008, van den Bergh 2009). Alternative indicators are being considered to measure welfare (Sen 1997, Praag, Ferrer-i-Carbonell 2004, Layard 2006), but they need to be more integrated in macroeconomic models.

The proposed research improves on the state of the art by combining these research strands.


Research questions

  1. Which additional key environmental constraints acting on the macroeconomy have so far not been considered?
  2. Can we identify feedback mechanisms between the environment and the macroeconomy, which European countries are likely to encounter?
  3. Which role do GDP and alternative indicators play in policy advice that stimulates socioecological transitions to sustainability? For this purpose we consider explicitly the interplay of generations, wealth, employment, biophysical resource use, social justice, and well-being.


Publications

Mikulas Luptácik, Eduard Nežinský and Martin Lábaj, Drivers of the change in social welfare, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 105, July 2015

Dominik Wiedenhofer and Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Achieving absolute decoupling? Comparing biophysical scenarios and macro-economic modelling results, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 86, February 2015

Bernhard Rengs, Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, Ardjan Gazheli, Miklós Antal and Jeroen van den Bergh, Testing innovation, employment and distributional impacts of climate policy packages in a macro-evolutionary systems setting, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 83, February 2015

Kurt Kratena and Mark Sommer, Policy implications of resource constraints on the European economy, WWWforEurope Policy Brief No. 6, November 2014

Kurt Kratena and Mark Sommer, Model simulations of resource use scenarios for Europe, WWWforEurope Deliverable No. 5, September 2014

Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Dominik Wiedenhofer, An optimal policy mix for resource use, WWWforEurope Policy Brief No. 5, September 2014

Tim Jackson, Ben Drake, Peter Victor, Kurt Kratena and Mark Sommer,  Literature review and model development, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 65, August 2014

Timo Kaphengst and Eike Karola Velten, Energy transition and behavioural change in rural areas - The role of energy cooperatives, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 60, April 2014

Jeroen van den Bergh and Miklós Antal, Evaluating aternatives to GDP as measures of social welfare/progress, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 56, March 2014

Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Daniel Hausknost, Large scale societal transitions in the past, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 55, March 2014

Claudia Kettner, Angela Köppl and Sigrid Stagl, Towards an operational measurement of socio-ecological performance, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 52, February 2014

Ardjan Gazheli, Miklós Antal, Ben Drake, Tim Jackson, Sigrid Stagl, Jeroen van den Bergh & Manuel Wäckerle, Policy Responses by Different Agents/Stakeholders in a Transition: Integrating the Multi-level Perspective and Behavioral Economics, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 48, December 2013

Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Dominik Wiedenhofer, Willi Haas, Irene Pallua & Daniel Hausknost, Developing Resource Use Scenarios for Europe, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 25, July 2013

Ardjan Gazheli, Miklós Antal & Jeroen van den Bergh, List of Suggestions for Behavioural Elements in the Macroeconomic Model, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 24, July 2013

Miklós Antal, Ardjan Gazheli & Jeroen van den Bergh, Behavioral Foundations of Sustainability Transitions, WWWforEurope Working Paper No.3, December 2012

Claudia Kettner, Angela Köppl & Sigrid Stagl, List of Well-being Indicators, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 2, December 2012