Background and issues

  • Market-based instruments (MBIs) have gained enormous visibility over the last decades and represent a massive trend in environmental management
  • This trend often does not rely on sound and empirical evidence that MBIs could achieve better results than other approaches
  • The understanding of MBIs lags far behind their visibility and promotion, inter alia because of the substantial ideological biases they carry
  • We use as a departing point the range of instruments that are classified by at least some authors as MBIs
  • While acknowledging the lack of relevance of gathering under a same vague label a number of heterogeneous instruments, we adopt this methodological approach in order to avoid prejudgments and in order to establish sound categories according to our own theoretical and empirical researches

Objectives and tasks

  • Clarify the nature and meaning of the heterogeneous group of MBIs (including Payments for Environmental Services as a broad category)
  • Inform stakeholders, including decision makers, about the relevance (or conversely) of using MBIs with associated strengths and weaknesses
  • Provide an analysis of the emergence of MBIs in societal discourses in relation with their theoretical foundations
  • Research the impacts of their implementation on agents’ motivations, institutional arrangements, environmental efficiency, social equity, legitimacy, reinforcement of environmental public policies
  • Investigate the use of scientific information (e.g. economic valuations) for decision making and especially through existing Science- Policy Interface bodies
  • Study the role of legal / institutional frameworks in improving the use of scientific information and other types of knowledge for MBIs.


Project leader: Renaud Lapeyre (IDDRI)

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