In this paper targets, institutions and policy measures for describing and implementing sustainable development are evaluated in terms of their conformity with the economic framework of a market system. Firstly, from the viewpoint of neo-liberal economic thinking as conceived by the German Freiburg school of economists (Eucken), a general set of criteria is developed, including issues of operationalization and legitimation of goals as well as institutional and instrumental issues. On this basis general rules for designing an ecological framework guaranteeing the greatest possible degree of conformity with a market system are derived. The concrete application of these rules leads to recommendations for a policy of sustainability with respect to the setting of goals, the establishment of institutions (role of ecological councils, of a central environmental organization on UN level and of the GATT/WTO regime) as well as the use of appropriate instruments.

Rennings, Klaus, Henrike Koschel, Karl Ludwig Brockmann und Isabel Kühn (1997), A Regulatory Framework for a Policy of Sustainability: Lessons from the Neo-Liberal School, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 97-13, Mannheim. Download


Rennings, Klaus
Koschel, Henrike
Brockmann, Karl Ludwig
Kühn, Isabel


sustainability targets, regulatory rules, neo-liberal framework, environment and international trade, environmental policy assessment