Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 391–411 | Cite as

Potential Contributions of Political Science to Environmental Economics

  • Jon HoviEmail author
  • Arild Underdal
  • Hugh Ward
Open Access


While political science has much to offer, at least some of its contributions might be difficult to incorporate into economic models. Nevertheless, we argue that environmental economics might benefit from supplementing, combining, or sometimes even replacing the rational choice approach with other approaches commonly used in political science. We develop our argument by examining three core components of political science analysis: ideas, power, and institutions. For each component we review political science approaches and propositions with a view to determining “what’s in it” for environmental economics.


Environmental economics Ideas Institutions Political science Power 



We thank the guest editors and two anonymous reviewers for many helpful comments. Frank Azevedo provided excellent editorial assistance.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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© The Author(s) 2011

Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental ResearchOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of GovernmentUniversity of EssexColchesterUK

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