The Political Economy of Low-Carbon Transitions


  • Start: Jun 6, 2024
  • End: Jun 7, 2024
  • Location: Cologne
  • Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
The Political Economy of Low-Carbon Transitions
Economic and political choices majorly affect the persistence or transformation of carbon societies. Recent works convincingly show how balances of power between incumbent fossil versus green interests, as well as party-political strategies vis-à-vis conflicting (often inconsistent) voter preferences, shape these outcomes.

With the distinction between positive and negative feedback effects, the literature has also offered dynamic accounts of how policy choices, technological changes, and economic interest group (re-)formation can tilt the balance in one or the other direction over time. With this workshop, we want to advance scholarship that builds on these promising research strands in international and comparative political economy while encouraging scholars to particularly consider the critical, contested role of the state in low-carbon transitions. To what extent do experiences with, expectations about, and the practical enactment of, public policy affect transition paths? How does (mis-)trust in the state, the politics of governance legitimacy, and the (failed) construction of state capacity affect the perceived viability of state-led transitions? What dynamics of state transformation do we observe in struggles over, and learning processes associated with, green transitions?

This MPIfG/AXPO workshop is jointly organized by Matthias Thiemann (Sciences Po, Paris) and Leon Wansleben (MPIfG, Cologne) and will take place at the MPIfG in Cologne.

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