Wasted Waste: An Evolutionary Perspective on Industrial By-Products

16 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2009 Last revised: 19 Oct 2009

Jakub Kronenberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ralph Winkler

University of Bern - Department of Economics; University of Bern - Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research

Date Written: February 25, 2009

Abstract

Every production process gives rise to unintended outputs. We argue that whether an output is desired or undesired, is not given per se, but depends on the economic circumstances which change over time. As a result, by-products of one industry, first perceived as non-marketable wastes, may become desired inputs into other production processes. By adopting an evolutionary perspective on economic dynamics, in particular by exploiting the concept of niche exclusion, we identify favorable circumstances for undesired outputs to become marketable. To cope with the pace and unpredictability of economic evolution, we argue for a flexible policy system which favors outcome- over process-oriented waste management policies and balances the responsibility between consumers and producers on the one side, and the society as a whole on the other side.

Keywords: waste management, by-products, pollution, niche, outcome-oriented policy, evolutionary perspective

JEL Classification: K32, Q53

Suggested Citation

Kronenberg, Jakub and Winkler, Ralph, Wasted Waste: An Evolutionary Perspective on Industrial By-Products (February 25, 2009). Ecological Economics, Vol. 68, No. 12, pp. 3026-3033, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1431831

Jakub Kronenberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Ralph Winkler (Contact Author)

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Bern, 3001
Switzerland
+41 31 631 4508 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ralph-winkler.de

University of Bern - Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research ( email )

Zähringerstrasse 25
Bern, 3012
Switzerland

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