Environmental Governance: Institutions, Policies and Actions

This book was written primarily during Vatn's recent sabbatical.

Summary (© Edward Elgar Publishing)


In this innovative book, Arild Vatn presents an overview of the field of environmental governance, from its theoretical foundations, to the major issues and practical applications. While having an interdisciplinary orientation, the main theoretical basis is in institutional theory. The book spans issues from the global to the local level and puts environmental governance within the wider field of economic policy and development. This book is perfect for interdisciplinary masters programs in environmental studies, environmental policy and management, as well as being of value to practitioners in the field.

Environmental governance encompasses our relations to nature, spanning institutions and policies in fields such as biodiversity loss, climate change, land use and pollution. This book offers tools for the study of environmental conflicts, analyzes the current status of environmental policies and discusses why we are so far from resolving many of the issues we face. It also offers alternative directions for future environmental governance.

Key features include:

  • an interdisciplinary and integrated approach 
  • an overview of the field of environmental governance
  • a focus both on local and global challenges and policies
  • the positioning of environmental governance within the wider field of economic policy and development.

This book will be ideal for interdisciplinary masters programs in environmental studies and environmental policy and management. It will also be of great value to practitioners in the field exploring alternative solutions for governance of environmental resources.

Critical Acclaim

‘Arild Vatn, the leading classical institutional economist, adopts a novel critical realist perspective and brings insights from a lifetime of work to bear on our social ecological economic crises. In a balanced guide through the diverse interdisciplinary literature, markets are explained as contested socially created governance structures. Mainstream economists and pragmatic environmentalists will discover why their favoured market concepts and solutions are flawed. The environmental crisis requires a fundamental restructuring of the economy and new institutions. Vatn helps us understand the dilemmas and ways forward.’
– Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

‘The sweep, clarity, and elegance of Arild Vatn’s treatment of institutions and governance is unrivaled. His focus on profound environmental threats—in this era of unbridled self-interest and income inequality—is both a moral triumph and a robust challenge to the hegemony of economistic justificationism in our daily life. Vatn shows that facile application of individualistic models of choice will always fail to reveal what ought to be done. Here we find a comprehensive treatment of all the difficulties—and possibilities—in crafting social rules to live by.’
– Daniel W. Bromley, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

More information from the publisher.

Published 13. January 2016 - 11:27 - Updated 23. May 2017 - 19:15