For a transition to sustainable consumption and production patterns an interdisciplinary co-evolutionary framework is relevant. There are ongoing discussions on such a framework.

Regarding sustainable consumption, a paper on "an evolutionary theory of household consumption behaviour" by Nelson and Consoli was published in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics (2010). The ambition of this discussion is to develop a theory, which is more realistic than neoclassical approaches regarding household behaviour.

Approaches of evolutionary economics assume that consumers do not have stable preferences and thus not a coherent utility function. Instead their needs can be satisfied by different products and services. Moreover, consumers are not only restricted by their budget, but also by their available time. This makes it easier to explain routine behaviour with regard to e.g. the use of electricity. The above mentioned article sees the following points as main characteristics of such a theory:

  • Considering the role of culture,
  • Considering features of mechanistic consumer behaviour (imitation, repetition), and interaction with other consumers,
  • Considering routine behaviour, and
  • Considering learning processes, role of consumption experience.

This academic discussion has not yet been linked to the community of inter- and transdisciplinary research such as the German Research Programme of the Ministry of Research on sustainable consumption and other earlier programmes of socio-ecological research. That have brought up rich empirical material which would benefit from an evolutionary economics framework.

Regarding sustainable production, a lot of work has already been done by evolutionary economists (e.g. Kemp and Foxon) on barriers of transitions to sustainable production, such as lock in effects of old technological trajectories, which are quite similar to the barriers on the consumption side. In this workshop we will try to elaborate a framework for analysing lead markets for sustainable innovations within an evolutionary framework.

Goals of the Workshop

For making progress in analysing and explaining sustainable consumption and production, it seems to be worthwhile to discuss the empirical results of the sustainable consumption research programme of the German Ministry of Research with leading evolutionary economists. This may be best done as a side event of an evolutionary economics conference and in a preparatory workshop. Thus the goals of the Mannheim workshop is a) to bring together parts of the communities of evolutionary economics and socio-ecological research and b) to prepare a side-event at the biannual conference of the International Schumpeter Society (ISS) during the second week of July 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.

Agenda and Programme

Thursday, September 1
1st Day: Sustainable Consumption

14:00 Introduction
Klaus Rennings, ZEW

14:30 A Coevolutionary Framework for Analysing a Transition to a Low Carbon Economy
Tim Foxon, University of Leeds

15:15 The Dual Challenge of Sustainability Transitions
René Kemp, University of Maastricht

16:00 Coffee Break

16:30 Applying the Stage Model of Self-Regulated Behavioural Change
Sebastian Bamberg, University of Applied Science Bielefeld

17:00 Path Dependence, Routines and Habits in Sustainable Energy Consumption
Stefan Zundel, University of Applied Sciences Lausitz

17:30 The Influence of Life Events on Sustainable Energy Consumption
David Arnold, University St. Gallen

18:00 Adoption of Energy Efficiency Technologies - The Example of Smart Metering
Karolin Tampe-Mai, Birgit Mack, University of Stuttgart

18:30 Finger Food

19:30 End

Friday, September 2
2nd Day: Sustainable Production, Lead Markets

10:00 A Co-Evolutionary Approach to Lead Markets of Environmental Innovation
Rainer Walz, Fraunhofer ISI Institute , Karlsruhe

10:30 Towards a Strategic Framework for Promoting Environmental Innovations
Rainer Quitzow, Freie Universität Berlin

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Dynamic Governance of Clean-Energy Markets
Martin Jänicke, Freie Universität Berlin

12:00 First and Second Mover Advantages for Pioneering Countrieson Environmental Markets - From National Lead Market to Lead Supplier Strategies
Klaus Rennings, ZEW

12:30 Modelling Lead Markets in a System Dynamics Model
Rainer Walz, Fraunhofer ISI Institute, Karlsruhe

13:00 Lunch

14:00 End


01.09.2011 - 02.09.2011

Event Location

ZEW, L 7,1 D-68161 Mannheim