Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 165–185 | Cite as

Utopia competition: a new approach to the micro-foundations of sustainability transitions

  • Isabel Almudi
  • Francisco Fatas-Villafranca
  • Jason PottsEmail author


We present a new evolutionary political economy approach to the study of transition dynamics based on a co-evolutionary model of differential citizen contributions to competing ‘utopias’—market fundamentalism, socialism, and environmentalism. We model sustainability transitions as an outcome of ‘utopia competition’ in which environmentalism manages to coexist with the market, while socialism vanishes. Our simulation-based framework suggests that the individual economic contributions of citizens to the battle of ideas—both the distribution within a utopia, and the interaction between different utopias—are crucial but much overlooked micro-factors in explaining the dynamics of sustainability transitions.


Utopia Sustainability transitions Idea competition Climate change Citizens Co-evolution Evolutionary political economy 



This research was supported by Australian Research Council (Grant No. FT120100509).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Almudi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco Fatas-Villafranca
    • 1
  • Jason Potts
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversity of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Economics, Finance and MarketingRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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