Political Economy of the Environment: A Look Back and Ahead

Abstract

The political economy of the environment aims to deepen our understanding of the interplay among the economy, the environment, and human well-being. In contrast to neoclassical environmental economics, it pays attention not only to the net magnitude of costs and benefits but also to their distribution. In the realm of positive analysis – descriptions of how the world works – this means exploring the multiple ways in which the distribution of wealth and power affects environmental outcomes. In the realm of normative analysis – prescriptions for how the world should work – political economists advocate a range of criteria including not only cost effectiveness but also safety, sustainability, and environmental justice.

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