Prospective Voluntary Agreements for Escaping Techno-Institutional Lock-In
Posted: 7 Jun 2013
Date Written: July 5, 2005
The paper looks for evolutionary policy responses to techno-institutional lock-in, a persistent state that creates systemic market and policy barriers to technological alternatives. We address the coordination role for authorities rather than corrective optimisation and elaborate three evolutionary policy objectives, including fostering of (i) the diversity of technological options, (ii) common vision for the implementation of technological alternatives and (iii) changes in social and physical networks. We use these objectives to analyse documented experiences from environmental voluntary agreements and foresight activities. We argue that combining the virtues of these tools into a new policy tool, named prospective voluntary agreement, can help facilitate an escape from techno-institutional lock-in. The merit of the prospective voluntary agreement lies with the enhancement of collaborative policy cultures and inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary stakeholder learning that creates commitment to desired action for escaping lock-in.
Keywords: Environmental voluntary agreement, Foresight, Increasing returns, Lock-in, Path-dependence
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