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Structural Change and Environmental Protection in Selected Basic Industries (2)

Research Team:

Andreas Karmanski
Simone Schucht

European Commission
Environment and Climate Programme 94-98
Feb 01, 1997 — Feb 28, 2000
Contact Person:
Dipl. Pol. Manfred Binder


Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (IÖW), Berlin
Institut für interdisziplinäre Forschung und Fortbildung der Universitäten
Innsbruck, Klagenfurt und Wien (IFF), Wien, Österreich
Centre d'économie et d'éthique pour l'environnement et le développement (C3ED)
Universität Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Frankreich
Department of Leisure Studies, Tilburg University, Niederlande
Department of Environment, Technology and Social Studies,
Roskilde University Center, Dänemark

Project description

Starting from the hypothesis that there is a tendency towards the end of the era of materials, resulting in a decline of basic industries, a former project outlined a theoretical framework for assessing the validity of this hypothesis in several case studies. In this follow-up project and starting from this dematerialization hypothesis, for the first time, comparative case studies analyse in detail the driving forces industrial restructuring of different industries and countries in Europe where such a decline has been observed at least temporarily. The results seriously question the suggested dematerialization process:
There are few general patterns of structural change in basic industries and no automatism of environmental benefits emerge. New theoretical approaches interpret these results and emphasise the specific role of firms, networks and technologies to explain industrial restructuring processes. Hence, structural change can only be effectively analysed as an interplay between economic and political factors. Thus, the project clarified preconditions which any ecological industrial policy aiming at environmental benefits of structural change has to take into account.