The Political Economy of Environmental and Climate Policy – Pathways towards Ecologically, Socially, and Economically Sustainable Policymaking

Call for Papers for the Annual Conference of the DVPW Section “Political Economy” in Braunschweig on April 2–3, 2020. Deadline: November 25, 2019

The overexploitation of natural resources and the destruction of ecosystems are among the biggest challenge of our time. These challenges are closely related to the current public and political debates on climate change that are quickly moving into the spotlight of public and political debate. Policymaking to tackle these challenges is gaining complexity, in particular in face of three interdependencies. First, there are close interdependencies between the management of different resources, e.g. water, energy and food that are hitherto not sufficiently considered in economic and political decision-making. Second, ecological sustainability is linked to economic, social and in particular redistributive questions. Transitions towards ecological sustainability will therefore affect other policy areas such as taxation, finance, agriculture, as well as social and economic policy. Third, some of the solutions needed to tackle these issues are beyond the power of nation states, hence environmental and climate politics become increasingly a multilevel game.

This conference aims to bring together politico-economic perspectives on current challenges in environmental and climate policy. We invite theoretical contributions, (comparative) case studies, large N studies and interdisciplinary approaches on the political economy of environmental and climate change. Contributions may address – but are not limited to:

  • The interdependencies between social, economic and environmental policies given that existing environmental policy instruments are closely related to re-distributional questions; e.g. policies to mitigate emissions are often intended to be reached by price increases that unequally affect different social groups. Proposals are welcome that elaborate on new policy instruments, e.g. in the area of tax policy or social policy that relieve the otherwise arising inequalities. These can include macro and micro perspectives, e.g. dealing with the preferences of voters and parties as well as the effects of different policies.
  • Attitudes and individual-level preferences regarding climate change policies and their redistributive implications: Besides studying the interdependencies between social and environmental policy, it is important to know how potential trade-offs between competing goals are addressed and solved at the level of individual attitudes. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand which policy instruments receive the highest degree of support among the general public.
  • Innovative approaches towards the (sustainable) management of common pool resources in face of increasing scarcity of water, energy, land, and food resources on the one hand and population and demand growth on the other hand. A particular challenge for the governance of these resources lies in the complex interdependencies between the sectors, contributions addressing nexus challenges are therefore particularly welcome.
  • Opportunities and challenges related to the integration of ecosystem services into political and economic decision-making, as an attempt to translate services rendered by nature into economic logics by monetising provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural and services.
  • The internalization of environmental costs in economic and political decision-making as well as the costs of economic and political decision-making on the environment (in the same or a different jurisdiction).
  • New governance modi and forms of cooperation between public and private actors in environmental and climate policy and its implications, e.g. in some areas state actors increasingly transfer responsibility for sustainability to the market and to the consumers (e.g. organic food or animal welfare labels).
  • Implications for dominating economic theories and growth models.
  • Struggles between different political and private actors trying to enforce or secure their interests.
  • The role of financial actors (e.g. investors, central banks) in financing both the fossil industry and sustainable business.

Contributions are welcome in English or German. We are theoretically and methodologically open and hope for contributions discussing different regions and time periods. Submissions by female and junior academics are especially welcome.

The deadline for paper proposals is November 25th 2019.
Abstracts should not exceed 400 words and include a title and information on the authors. Please send them to:
Comparative Politics and Public Policy, Bienroder Weg 97, 38106 Braunschweig