Modelling the Transition to Sustainable Economic Structures – TRANSUST
This project aims at identifying and building a network of excellence that provides a communication platform for researchers interested in modelling the transition to sustainable economic structures.
This new project aims at identifying and building a network of excellence that provides a communication platform for researchers interested in modelling the transition to sustainable economic structures.
Based on the experience with existing models the following issues will be addressed:
- Sharing information about existing models in a peer review. The theoretic frameworks on which the major available models are based are compared. In order to prepare a future modelling framework, the strengths and weaknesses of existing models in addressing issues of sustainability are identified.
- Assessing the comparative advantages of various model designs. Based on a list of policy issues, the ability of the available models to handle these tasks are investigated. Strengths and limitations of available models with regard to specific policy questions thus become visible.
- Identifying research tasks for modelling sustainable economic structures. The reliability and sensitivity of different models with respect to a few crucial features are tested. Among other things, this involves looking at technological change, risk perception and co-benefits. Recent contributions from economic theory, in particular on technological change and capital theory, are analysed for their potential to improve the modelling of the transition to sustainable economic structures.
Hardly any of the currently available models can claim that they have fully incorporated the essential elements needed to provide a coherent and comprehensive analysis of the policy options for the transition to sustainable economic structures.
The project is designed to evaluate the current state of modelling in the framework of this innovative economic paradigm, to bridge the gap between new developments – as the interaction of technological change and stocks of capital – relevant for sustainability and their implementation in models, and to identify and stimulate future research tasks in modelling from a sustainability perspective.
The project creates a network for enhancing research and disseminating research results relevant for modelling the transition to sustainable economic structures. Extensive use of the Internet as a communication platform reflects the open access feature of the project to the European research community interested in sustainability issues. Starting with a model comparison activity, in a unified methodology with prototype models the theoretical structure of various available models is compared.
Interviews, reviews of publications, and workshop activities are used to collect the relevant information.
The information obtained in the model comparison activity serves to identify the comparative advantages of the models as to the analysis of specific policy tasks. This helps to get a better understanding of conflicting policy recommendations that originate from differences in the model designs. Special attention is given to the relevance of new contributions from economic theory for modelling sustainable economic structures. In particular we refer to the crucial role of flow-stock interactions together with endogenously stimulated technological progress as the driving force in the transition to sustainable structures. Social and institutional dimensions of the transition process are taken into account in order to get a better understanding of the barriers that block many technologies that are relevant from a sustainability perspective. A special topic is the modelling of agriculture, forestry, and water management.
Finally, the work programme focuses on future tasks in modelling sectoral, national, and international models with the aim of analysing the transition to sustainable economic structures. Insights for improvements are obtained for the available models as well as research requirements for a new generation of models is identified.