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Introductory economics courses and the university’s commitments to sustainability Green, Thomas Leslie 2012

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Introductory economics courses and the university’s commitments to sustainability  by Thomas Leslie Green  B.I.S., The University of Waterloo, 1987 M.A., University of Victoria, 1998  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Interdisciplinary Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2012 © Thomas Leslie Green, 2012  The three largest public universities in British Columbia, Canada have signed the Talloires Declaration, committing themselves to promoting students’ environmental literacy and ecological citizenship. As a result, there is pressure to integrate sustainability across the curriculum. Using a case study approach involving these three universities and qualitative research methods, this dissertation explores the potential implications of sustainability commitments for principles of economics curriculum, drawing on a theoretical framework grounded in ecological economics and other literatures. About 40% of North American university students take a principles of economics course; relatively few go on to take more advanced economics courses. As such, this course is an important vehicle for many students to learn economic theory and the economics profession’s approach to evaluating public policy, and it has the potential to substantially contribute to the knowledge and tools that students can mobilize to foster sustainability. To examine how sustainability commitments play out in the classroom, this study relied on content analysis of nine principles of economics textbooks and 74 interviews from three populations at the three universities. The first group consisted of 54 students who had recently completed an introductory economics course. The second comprised 11 economists who deliver the course. The third involved nine professors who teach undergraduates in programs that explicitly focus on sustainability and require that students take introductory economics. Findings suggest that universities’ sustainability commitments have yet to influence principles of economics curriculum and that the curriculum does not support these commitments. The textbooks and courses appear to do little to prepare students to understand sustainability issues or potential limits to growth. Sustainability is not salient to lecturers, and disciplinary culture limits prospects that mainstream economics departments will integrate sustainability into curriculum. In part, this inertia may exist because addressing sustainability has the potential to create problems of plausibility and coherence for mainstream economic theory. Recommendations are offered for reflecting sustainability commitments in economics ii  curriculum, but it is unclear whether economics departments are interested in, or have the capacity to deliver, such a course.  iii  Papers arising from work presented in the dissertation Portions of Chapter 4 and 5 are published as: Green, T. L. Forthcoming. Introductory economics textbooks: what do they teach about sustainability? International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education 4(3). Ethics approval This study was approved by the Behavioural Research Ethics Board at the University of British Columbia on June 14, 2010. Certificate number: H10-01321. Amendments and renewals include H10-01321-A001 to H10-01321-A005.  iv  Abstract ..................................................................................................................................... ii Preface...................................................................................................................................... iv Table of Contents...................................................................................................................... v List of Tables ............................................................................................................................ x List of Figures .......................................................................................................................... xi List of Abbreviations .............................................................................................................. xii Acknowledgements................................................................................................................ xiii Chapter 1: Introduction ............................................................................................................ 1 1.1 Background of the study ....................................................................................... 1 1.2 Purpose of the study.............................................................................................. 4 1.3 Significance of the study....................................................................................... 8 1.4 Definition of terms.............................................................................................. 11 1.4.1 Sustainability commitment ......................................................................... 11 1.4.2 Mainstream economics ............................................................................... 11 1.4.3 How sustainability is understood in this dissertation.................................. 13 1.4.4 Sustainability-oriented program (SOP)....................................................... 16 1.4.5 Coherence and plausibility.......................................................................... 17 1.5 Research questions.............................................................................................. 18 1.6 Limitations .......................................................................................................... 20 1.7 Delimitations....................................................................................................... 20 1.8 Assumptions........................................................................................................ 21 1.9 Organization of the study.................................................................................... 21 Chapter 2: Literature review .................................................................................................. 23 2.1 Chapter overview ................................................................................................ 23 2.2 Sustainability in higher education literature ....................................................... 25 2.3 The sociology of the economics discipline......................................................... 32 2.3.1 Socialization within economics .................................................................. 34 2.4 Theory choice in economics ............................................................................... 36 2.5 Economics education literature........................................................................... 38 2.6 Economics textbooks, the environment and sustainability ................................. 42 2.7 Impacts of economics education on students and society................................... 44 2.7.1 The performativity of economics................................................................ 44 2.7.2 The influence of PoE on society ................................................................. 46 2.7.3 Effects of studying economics on student values ....................................... 50 2.7.4 Effects of studying economics on environmental attitudes and values ...... 54 2.8 Chapter conclusions: implications for this research project ............................... 55 Chapter 3: Theoretical framework ......................................................................................... 58 3.1 Chapter overview ................................................................................................ 58 3.2 The ecological economics critique of mainstream economics ........................... 59 3.2.1 Criticisms of ecological economics ............................................................ 69 v  3.2.2 Implications to draw from ecological economics ....................................... 70 3.3 Academic departments and disciplines............................................................... 70 3.3.1 Criticisms of the literature .......................................................................... 71 3.3.2 Implications of the literature....................................................................... 71 3.4 Sociology of higher education and related literatures......................................... 72 3.4.1 Basil Bernstein and the pedagogic device .................................................. 72 3.4.1.1 Criticisms of Bernstein ........................................................................... 75 3.4.1.2 Implications to draw from Bernstein ...................................................... 75 3.4.2 Pierre Bourdieu ........................................................................................... 76 3.4.2.1 Criticisms of Bourdieu............................................................................ 79 3.4.2.2 Implications to draw from Bourdieu....................................................... 80 3.4.3 Margaret Archer’s critical realism .............................................................. 80 3.4.3.1 Criticisms of Archer................................................................................ 84 3.4.3.2 Implications to draw from Archer........................................................... 84 3.4.4 Latour’s Actor-Network Theory ................................................................. 85 3.4.4.1 Criticisms of Actor-Network Theory...................................................... 87 3.4.4.2 Implications to draw from Actor-Network Theory................................. 88 3.4.5 Integration of insights ................................................................................. 89 3.5 Chapter conclusions: implications for this research project ............................... 90 Chapter 4: Methodological approach and research methods ................................................. 93 4.1 Chapter overview ................................................................................................ 93 4.2 Choice of research methodology ........................................................................ 93 4.3 Methodology used to analyze PoE textbooks ..................................................... 95 4.3.1 Conventions used in reporting results......................................................... 99 4.3.2 Measuring environmental content in the textbooks .................................. 101 4.3.3 Textbook data analysis.............................................................................. 103 4.4 Interviews of economists delivering PoE ......................................................... 104 4.4.1 Why interview PoE lecturers? .................................................................. 104 4.4.2 Design and administration of economics lecturer interview guide........... 105 4.4.2.1 Quotes for discussion by economists.................................................... 105 4.4.3 Recruitment of economics lecturers.......................................................... 108 4.5 Interviews of professors in sustainability-oriented programs ........................... 109 4.5.1 Why interview SOP professors? ............................................................... 109 4.5.2 Design and administration of SOP professor interview guide.................. 109 4.5.3 Recruitment of SOP professors................................................................. 110 4.6 Student interviews............................................................................................. 111 4.6.1 Why interview students?........................................................................... 111 4.6.2 Design and administration of student interview guide ............................. 111 4.6.2.1 Rationale behind the quotes used: two examples ................................. 114 4.6.2.2 The carbon tax exercise ........................................................................ 116 4.6.2.3 Student interview guide, closing questions........................................... 117 4.6.3 Recruitment of students ............................................................................ 117 4.7 Processing, coding and analysis of interview data............................................ 120 4.7.1 Edits made to participant quotes ............................................................... 122 4.8 Chapter conclusions .......................................................................................... 122 vi  Chapter 5: Introductory economics textbooks and sustainability ........................................ 124 5.1 Chapter overview .............................................................................................. 124 5.2 RQ1 – Proportion of textbook addressing sustainability .................................. 125 5.2.1 Breadth of coverage .................................................................................. 130 5.3 RQ2 – How textbooks conceptualize the environment..................................... 132 5.4 PoE textbooks: are they written so as to contain a green critique?................... 151 5.4.1 Elements of the containment strategy ....................................................... 152 5.4.2 An analysis of how the containment strategy is deployed........................ 154 5.4.2.1 The claim to defend: growth as beneficial............................................ 154 5.4.2.2 Element 7: Limits and Malthus’s mistake ............................................ 157 5.4.2.3 Elements 8, 10, 11: Limits, substitution and technological progress.... 158 5.4.2.4 Element 13: Resource prices indicate scarcity is not increasing .......... 161 5.4.2.5 Element 16: Rich countries care about the environment ...................... 162 5.4.2.6 Element 17: Clean sectors can be the source of future growth............. 163 5.4.3 Mainstream versus sustainability texts and the containment strategy ...... 164 5.5 Chapter conclusions .......................................................................................... 164 5.5.1 Content analysis ........................................................................................ 164 5.5.2 Containment strategy ................................................................................ 165 Chapter 6: Faculty perspectives on principles of economics courses.................................. 167 6.1 Chapter overview .............................................................................................. 167 6.1.1 Notes on reporting conventions ................................................................ 168 6.1.2 Population of economists participating in the study ................................. 169 6.1.3 Analysis of interview data ........................................................................ 170 6.1.3.1 Perspectives on current environmental conditions and trends .............. 170 6.1.3.2 Perspectives on sustainability ............................................................... 171 6.1.3.3 Perspectives on sustainability commitments made by universities ...... 173 6.1.3.4 Perspectives on heterodox economic theory......................................... 174 6.1.4 RQ3 – Perceptions of PoE’s relevance and adequacy w.r.t sustainability 174 6.1.4.1 Sustainability has no merit.................................................................... 176 6.1.4.2 EELS outside PoE mandate .................................................................. 177 6.1.4.3 PoE textbook and curriculum downplay EELS .................................... 178 6.1.4.4 PoE curriculum unsatisfactory with respect to EELS........................... 178 6.1.4.5 PoE courses offer insights relevant to addressing EELS ...................... 179 6.1.4.6 PoE clears up misconceptions held by SOP students ........................... 180 6.1.4.7 Influence of PoE on student values....................................................... 181 6.1.5 Summary findings, RQ3 ........................................................................... 181 6.1.6 RQ4 – Revisions of PoE curriculum to address sustainability ................. 182 6.1.6.1 Relevance of EELS for PoE.................................................................. 182 6.1.6.2 Concerns about imposing sustainability values on students ................. 184 6.1.6.3 PoE needs to focus on core economic theory ....................................... 185 6.1.6.4 Addressing EELS would water down PoE ........................................... 185 6.1.6.5 EELS inclusion not appropriate for first year level course................... 185 6.1.6.6 Empirical data / formal models required to include EELS in PoE ....... 186 6.1.6.7 Amenable to curriculum change to address EELS ............................... 187 vii  6.1.7 Summary findings, RQ4 ........................................................................... 188 6.1.8 RQ5 – Plausibility and coherence............................................................. 188 6.2 SOP faculty participants ................................................................................... 200 6.2.1 Population ................................................................................................. 200 6.2.1.1 Reactions to sustainability .................................................................... 201 6.2.2 RQ6 – SOP professors on the relevance of PoE courses .......................... 201 6.2.2.1 Characterization of PoE ........................................................................ 202 6.2.2.2 Rationale for having SOP students take PoE........................................ 203 6.2.2.3 PoE as a foundation for upper-level SOP courses ................................ 204 6.2.2.4 SOP professor reports of student reactions to PoE ............................... 204 6.2.3 RQ7 – Does addressing sustainability imply curriculum revision?.......... 206 6.2.3.1 Meeting the economics education needs of SOP students.................... 207 6.2.3.2 Prospects for collaboration ................................................................... 209 6.2.4 RQ8 – Implications of sustainability for plausibility and coherence........ 210 6.2.4.1 Constraints and opportunities in modifying PoE .................................. 211 6.3 Chapter conclusions .......................................................................................... 212 Chapter 7: Student perspectives on principles of economics courses.................................. 215 7.1 Chapter overview .............................................................................................. 215 7.2 Characteristics of the student population.......................................................... 216 7.3 A student portrait of PoE .................................................................................. 218 7.3.1 Course characteristics ............................................................................... 218 7.3.1.1 The learning environment and ethos of PoE......................................... 219 7.3.1.2 The worldview and normative connotations of PoE............................. 220 7.3.2 RQ9 and RQ10 – Student perspectives on how PoE addresses EELS ..... 224 7.3.3 Notions of sustainability in PoE ............................................................... 228 7.4 RQ 11 – Does PoE enable students to engage with sustainability?.................. 230 7.4.1 Environmental content students suggest adding to PoE ........................... 233 7.5 Results from the card sorting exercise .............................................................. 235 7.6 Do students encounter the containment strategy?............................................. 241 7.7 Carbon tax exercise........................................................................................... 245 7.7.1 Effect of a carbon tax ................................................................................ 246 7.7.2 Arguments in favour of a carbon tax ........................................................ 248 7.7.3 Economic arguments against the carbon tax............................................. 253 7.8 Student opinions on taxes versus regulations ................................................... 256 7.9 Chapter conclusions .......................................................................................... 259 Chapter 8: Summary, discussion and conclusions............................................................... 261 8.1 Chapter overview .............................................................................................. 261 8.2 Summary of the study ....................................................................................... 261 8.3 Discussion of the findings................................................................................. 264 8.3.1 A context of deepening crisis and sustainability commitments................ 264 8.3.2 Textbooks.................................................................................................. 266 8.3.2.1 The textbook containment strategy....................................................... 271 8.3.3 Economists delivering and defining PoE curriculum ............................... 274 8.3.4 PoE students.............................................................................................. 285 viii  8.4 Synthesis of textbook, PoE lecturers, SOP professors and student data........... 289 8.5 Implications for current practice....................................................................... 294 8.5.1 Integrating sustainability into PoE curriculum ......................................... 294 8.5.2 Improving the textbooks ........................................................................... 296 8.5.3 Implications for economics departments .................................................. 297 8.5.4 Implications for sustainability-oriented programs .................................... 298 8.5.5 Implications of the study for other departments across the academy ....... 299 8.5.6 Implications for university sustainability policy and strategy .................. 299 8.6 Implications for theory...................................................................................... 300 8.6.1 Implications for sustainability in higher education literature ................... 300 8.6.2 Ecological economics ............................................................................... 301 8.6.3 Curriculum and the university .................................................................. 301 8.6.4 Limitations of the study ............................................................................ 305 8.7 Recommendations for further research ............................................................. 307 References............................................................................................................................. 309 Appendix A Textbook measurement protocol.................................................................................... 344 Appendix B Invitations to faculty to participate in the study............................................................. 345 Appendix C Interview guide for economics lecturers ........................................................................ 348 Appendix D Interview guide for professors in sustainability-oriented programs .............................. 353 Appendix E Interview guide for students........................................................................................... 356 Appendix F Student consent form...................................................................................................... 364 Appendix G Sample advertisement for recruiting students................................................................ 366  ix  Table 1: Textbooks included in the textbook analysis and reasons for inclusion................. 100 Table 2: Markers of sustainability-relevant content ............................................................. 103 Table 3: Rationale for quotes and questions included in lecturer interview guide............... 106 Table 4: Quantitative results, sustainability-linked content.................................................. 126 Table 5: Occurrence of selected concepts relevant to sustainability .................................... 131 Table 6 Occurrence of containment strategy elements by textbook ..................................... 156 Table 7: Breakdown of the sample of economists participating in the study ....................... 169 Table 8: Categorization of responses relevant to research question three ............................ 176 Table 9: Tabulated responses to research question four on revision of curriculum ............. 183 Table 10: Breakdown of SOP professors participating in the study..................................... 200 Table 11: Breakdown of the student population participating in the study .......................... 217 Table 12: PoE content with normative connotations as seen from student comments......... 222 Table 13: Comparison of predicted sort to how students actually sorted quotes.................. 240 Table 14: Student responses to the carbon tax exercise........................................................ 250 Table 15: Erroneous arguments students offered against a carbon tax................................. 254 Table 16: Weaknesses in student reasoning with respect to tax versus regulations ............. 257  x  Figure 1: Sustainability-relevant text as a proportion of total text in textbook .................... 128 Figure 2: Distribution of environmental content in textbooks.............................................. 129  xi  EELS Environment-economy linkages and sustainability PoE  Principles of economics  SFU  Simon Fraser University  SOP  Sustainability-oriented program  UBC University of British Columbia UVic University of Victoria  xii  It might be said that it takes a village to write a dissertation; while writing is a solitary endeavour, it is best undertaken with the benefit of insight and support from an extended network of supervisors, colleagues, family, friends and of course funders. My co-supervisors, Drs. Ronald Trosper and Amy Scott Metcalfe, kindly took on supervising this project despite the fact that it is tangential to their current research. Ron unleashed his years of training in mainstream economics at Harvard to ferret out weaknesses in my critique while Amy and Dr. Leila Harris, the third member of my supervisory committee, were invaluable mentors in conducting qualitative research and in writing up my dissertation. All three were unerringly encouraging. Dr. John Robinson provided helpful guidance as I worked towards candidacy, and Drs. William Rees and Kai Chan offered insightful perspectives on ecological economics. I also learned a great deal by collaborating with Dr. Susanne Menzel on a paper deconstructing consumer sovereignty. Thanks too to Dr. Margaret Schabus, who shared her knowledge of the history of economic thought. Dr. Herman Daly, a scholar who has worked tirelessly to tackle the ecological naïveté underlying mainstream economic thought, encouraged me to embark upon a PhD scrutinizing economics education. Regrettably, though UBC puts much emphasis on sustainability, it has yet to demonstrate that it values scholarship in ecological economics (hence my recourse to pursuing a PhD through the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program), so I appreciated opportunities to learn from scholars from other institutions who have contributed to this literature. Drs. John O’Neill, Daniel Bromley, Mark Jaccard, Julie Nelson, Clive Spash and Peter Victor deserve honourable mentions on this count. The European Society for Ecological Economics generously fostered the participation of PhD students in its biennial conferences; I greatly benefited from meeting fellow graduate students from across Europe. My family was supportive throughout the voyage, and special thanks go to my parents, Les and Marion Green. My siblings Jenny, Robin and Philip and their families are owed thanks for hosting my study retreats at their homes dispersed across the tropics and Ontario.  xiii  A few friends deserve special mention for being particularly helpful, inspiring or otherwise rendering bumps in the PhD process moot, including Adrian, Ana, Anya, Chris, Carolye, Christina, Conor, Damla, Emily, Eva, James, Jennifer, Julian, Justin, Lazarina, Margarida, Maryam, Matt, Megan, Naayeli, Ned, Rob, Robin, Sabrina, Sarah, Sonja, Sohail, Stacy, Stefan and Stephanie. My long-time friend Steve McAdam fits in a special category for the many hours spent discussing our PhDs and for his willingness to embark on rejuvenating escapades into the mountains. Through pure serendipity, Tyler DesRoches, a fellow PhD student, economist, philosopher and fellow gardener moved into a suite next to mine, providing many opportunities to discuss the philosophical underpinnings of economic theory (thanks to his wife Christine for putting up with our debates). Colleagues at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, including the PhD support group, Arvind, Brian, Christian, Ed, Tom B. and Reza, are also owed thanks for welcoming an interdisciplinary studies student. The IRES and ISGP directors and staff were always helpful. Eric Gorham at Quest University Canada offered work as a visiting faculty member, providing invaluable opportunities to put theory into practice. Research assistants Aneeta Dastoor, Kirsten Harma, Elise Lepine and Yulia Tsinko provided assistance with some of the more tedious tasks involved in this research project. Editor Charlotte McLeod helped smooth out the writing. I am grateful to the BC Working Group on Sustainability Education and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education for the inaugural Walking the Talk scholarship. I would also like to acknowledge the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for its support in the form of a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award. UBC provided a Four Year Fellowship, a PhD Tuition Fee Award and a Graduate Entrance Scholarship. The support of the Liu Scholar Program of the Liu Institute for Global Issues and its erudite director, Dr. Peter Dauvergne, is also appreciated. Thanks to all the participants in this study, both faculty and students, who gave generously of their time, without which this project would not have been possible.  xiv  Chapter 1: Introduction I don’t attempt to speak for all of my peers, but I know that many of us share an enormous frustration with the way in which our supposedly leading institutions teach us about the economy in a way that is myopic, ahistorical, and devoid of nearly any critical conversation about sustainability or human well being. Michael Sandmel, student, New York University1 1.1  Background of the study  Ecosystems are increasingly under stress, and as a result the ecosystem services that support human wellbeing are being eroded (United Nations Environment Program 2005a). Various drivers of environmental degradation have been identified, including the dramatic increase in the scale of economic activity, which is a combined effect of population growth, rising levels of per capita income, the shift to a consumer economy and the rapid expansion in the use of fossil energy (Rees 2003a; Ayres 2006; Fischer et al. 2007). As evidence of accelerating ecological decline has accumulated, governments and businesses around the world have proclaimed their intentions to embrace sustainability, building on a vision for humanity initially spelled out in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987). Recognizing the role they can play in addressing the deteriorating state of the natural environment and the implications this deterioration has for human wellbeing, many North American universities have committed to addressing sustainability (Wright 2002; Haigh 2005; Lukman and Glavi 2007). These declarations and commitments typically address curriculum. For instance, the Thessaloniki Declaration of 1997 stresses, “…all subject disciplines must address issues related to the environment and sustainable development and that university curricula must be reoriented towards a holistic approach to education” (cited in Wright 2002, 210). Universities are seen by scholars as having a unique ability to produce new knowledge, to experiment and to critically assess and comment on society’s trajectory;  & '' *  % &( -  ! )  !  '  ' *' +')  "  "  !" # " " "  !  $ "  % & !',% !!  1  each of these activities is crucial to achieving sustainability (Cortese 2003; M’Gonigle and Starke 2006a). Most universities in British Columbia, Canada, and more than 400 universities worldwide, have signed on to the Talloires Declaration2 of 1990. Points three and four of the declaration’s 10-point action plan involve an explicit commitment by signatory universities to graduate environmentally-literate students who can go on to become ecologically responsible citizens: 3. Educate for Environmentally Responsible Citizenship Establish programs to produce expertise in environmental management, sustainable economic development, population, and related fields to ensure that all university graduates are environmentally literate and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens. 4. Foster Environmental Literacy For All Create programs to develop the capability of university faculty to teach environmental literacy to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.3 For many scholars, effective implementation of such commitments implies the integration of sustainability across the curriculum (Wright 2002; Haigh 2005; Lukman and Glavi 2007). The UN declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2015). The UNESCO implementation scheme for this decade stresses, “learning for sustainable development embedded in the whole curriculum, not as a separate subject” (cited on page 5 of Owens and Moore 2008). Since universities are expected to provide their students with skills relevant to meeting the needs of society, as environmental conditions worsen and as society prioritizes sustainability, universities should shift what and how they teach to be relevant to this new priority. Universities are also seen as having a responsibility to ensure that curriculum equips students for informed participation in decisions that have sustainability implications (Moore 2004).  & &  !! 3-  %% %  4  (%!  66*  % / !! !  & ! % ! )0 % %  /  ! % ( . % & . (! & ! ! %1 ! % %( 2 ,/012- . . . ! )0 %  !  %1 ! % %( 2  ,%  % % & ! ,% !! !!  5 )  %% %) + 6-  2  University-wide efforts to integrate sustainability across the curriculum face a number of challenges due to the academy’s unique characteristics and the attributes of disciplines. While universities trace their origins to the study of metaphysical issues, in recent decades they have been reoriented towards more pragmatic concerns as part of the global realignment and rationalization of societies towards economic production, such that Barnett (2011a) now characterizes them as corporate, bureaucratic and constrained by pressures to compete with one another. Disciplines have been described using the metaphor of tribes and territories (Becher and Trowler 2001), a comparison that reflects the ways in which they can be insular and how a few prominent members can have disproportionate power and influence on shaping research priorities and methodologies. Becher and Trowler, as well as Bourdieu (1988, 1998), see academics as tending to shy away from research that may undermine the intellectual capital in which they are invested; in some instances, revisiting theory to account for sustainability might seem an unattractive proposition for that reason. Scholars value academic freedom, which has created tension between lecturers’ belief that they can choose what to teach in their courses and sustainability commitments that imply the integration of sustainability across the curriculum. Furthermore, sustainability inherently involves interdisciplinarity. While there has been much talk about the value of interdisciplinarity in academic circles, much of the work taking place on campus remains within disciplinary silos, which is a barrier to addressing sustainability commitments (Moore 2005a; Clark et al. 2011). Mainstream economics in particular has been characterized as an insular discipline that does not tend to borrow from other disciplines, despite the fact that its neighbouring disciplines draw on insights from economics (Pieters and Baumgartner 2002; Jacobs and Frickel 2009). Like other disciplines (Bourdieu 1988; Huber 1990), economics has its own cultural particularities and disciplinary practices (Leijonhufvud 1973; Fourcade 2009; Evensky 2012). In North America, the process of becoming organized as a discipline required that economists generally align themselves with business interests, tempering prospects for more foundational critiques of the economic order (Silva and Slaughter 1984, 150). Due to an 3  oversupply of PhDs and retrenchment in public funding for higher education, job security for economists pursing an academic career has become more precarious, limiting leeway for criticism of market society (Krause 1996; Holligan 2011). Each of the above considerations has the potential to complicate the issue of aligning curriculum to reflect institutional commitments to sustainability. 1.2  Purpose of the study  What do sustainability commitments made by universities imply for Principles of Economics courses (hereafter ‘PoE’)4 taught in mainstream economics departments at North American universities? Is PoE assisting the academy in meeting its sustainability commitments, or should PoE curriculum be revised as one of the many measures universities are or should be undertaking to fulfill these commitments? This research project reports on a case study focused on the three major publicly-funded universities in British Columbia, Canada. It is intended to shed light on these matters by content analysis of PoE textbooks and through the analysis of data generated from three sets of interviews. The first population interviewed involved mainstream economists who teach PoE or shape curriculum. The second involved professors who work in sustainability-oriented departments where the department encourages its students to take PoE. The third involved three types of students who had recently completed a PoE course. There is no question that, in many instances, economic theory can help provide insights into the causes of many environmental problems and can help inform the design of effective environmental policies. My own pathway towards graduate studies in ecological economics was based in part on the belief that prospects for sustainability could be improved by the judicious use of various economic instruments such as carbon taxes. In recent years, many economists have urged action on the environmental front. Mainstream economists have put  *7 &! % & !& 8 9. ( ! % % ! % % ! ! )% ! .& & ! % & %!% % & ! ! %! . ! % % !! %& !% % ! 7 & /1 % % ! !% . %!: ! !; . & % % %: ! !; % )! !! !% ) !% ! !! ) % ! ! 7% & %% % ) & ! !! %  !  4  particular emphasis on the improvements in environmental outcomes that would ensue if externalities were internalized such that the price signals for various goods and services that individuals and firms face in the marketplace better reflect their environmental costs to society (Pearce and Turner 1990). For instance, 2,500 economists signed on to a statement drafted by prominent economists Kenneth Arrow, Dale Jorgenson, Paul Krugman, William Nordhaus and Robert Solow that calls for a price to be put on greenhouse gas emissions (Krugman 1998, 168). Nevertheless, there is evidence that the mainstream economics discipline has generally paid little attention to sustainability and has been resistant to the notion that there might be ecological constraints to economic activity. When the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report was published (Meadows et al. 1972), reviews published by economists were hostile (e.g., Solow 1974). Samuelson included graphs from the report in the ninth edition of his principles text, accompanied by the dismissive annotation “What mixture of pseudoscience and common sense do studies like this one by the Club of Rome represent?” (Samuelson 1973, 819). Many criticisms of the report circulated amongst economists were based on misinterpretations of the report (Turner 2008). A researcher who interviewed prominent mainstream economists on the environmental crisis showed them to be paying little attention to the environment, to be displaying a “will not to know” and to be invoking defence mechanisms so as to evade the facts (Ravaioli 1995, 152). Luten (1980) argues that the economics profession displays unwarranted optimism that ecological limits are of little import. Unlike natural scientists, who have argued for aggressive action to mitigate global warming (Patt 1999; Hansen et al. 2008; Rockstrom et al. 2009), prominent economists, like William Nordhaus, have applied cost benefit analysis to questions of global warming and have argued that their results show that optimal mitigation efforts should be modest at first and only gradually ramp up over time (e.g., Nordhaus 1991). When findings from the Stern (2006) review, which called for decisive action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, were published, some leading economists reacted strongly (Nordhaus 2007); they were especially critical of Stern’s use of a low discount rate, which gave greater weight to the interests of future generations (Nelson 2008). These examples 5  suggest that many of those who are influential within the economics profession, and have helped shape PoE curriculum (Nordhaus is co-author with Samuelson of what is sometimes referred to as the discipline’s textbook of record), may have promoted an approach to understanding the economy that neglects the environment and downplays the sustainability challenge. PoE textbooks and courses have been criticized from within the profession for not reflecting advances in economic theory and for misrepresenting how economists actually do economics (e.g., Colander 2005a). Recent events may be contributing to the pressure to update the PoE curriculum in a manner that better reflects contemporary economic theorizing, a situation that may also create an opening to attend to sustainability. Some of the profession’s most prominent theorists have recognized that the 2008 economic crisis has called into question the scientific credentials of mainstream economics, as most economists “failed even to see the possibility of this type of crisis” (Krugman 2011, 307). The crisis provides difficult-toignore empirical evidence that markets did not behave as theory favoured within the profession, and presented in principles-level textbooks as having scientific credentials, predicted. For instance, the scale of the housing bubble showed that contrary to the efficient market hypothesis, assets prices for houses did not reflect fundamentals (Cassidy 2009, 334– 346; Stiglitz 2010, 257–271; Keen 2011a; Evensky 2012). In 2008, France’s president, Nicholas Sarkozy, asked Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen to lead a commission into measures of economic welfare. Their report raised profound questions about the environmental and human wellbeing implications of growth in GDP (Stiglitz et al. 2009). There is a high degree of scientific consensus that without aggressive policy interventions, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are projected to rise to levels that represent, among other concerns, an unacceptable risk of dangerous anthropogenic climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise and changes in agricultural yields (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007; Rockstrom et al. 2009). This new understanding suggests that there may be increasing societal recognition that there are limits to human economic activity.  6  With this backdrop and recent turmoil in economic thinking, I was interested in better understanding whether economists involved in delivering PoE advocate for revisions in PoE curriculum, especially to account for societal concern over environmental conditions. However, despite the pressures that the ongoing economic crisis and contemporary concern about environmental trends may be putting on mainstream theorizing, and hence on PoE curriculum, there are other factors that mitigate against the likelihood of curriculum change. These include the socialization process within the profession (Colander and Klamer 1987; Colander 1998, 2005b), the tendency in the economics textbook publishing industry to resist more than incremental changes in theoretical content (Colander 2011), the process by which theories are selected and evolve in economics (Mackie 1998), as well as disciplinary culture and institutional inertia and constraints (Silva and Slaughter 1984; Krause 1996; Slaughter and Rhoades 2004; M’Gonigle and Starke 2006b). Furthermore, ecological economists (see Section 3.2), have argued that addressing environmental constraints and sustainability in a substantive manner causes problems for the coherence and plausibility of standard economics (Georgescu-Roegen 1975, 1977; Daly 1995). For instance, from an ecological economics perspective, achieving sustainability requires that the scale of the economy be constrained to operate within ecological limits, whereas mainstream economics has tended to proceed without the concept of scale and on the basis that limits are not applicable within timeframes relevant to humanity (Georgescu-Roegen 1971; Solow 1997; Daly 2002). Sustainability invites scrutiny of the long-term viability of mainstream macroeconomic policy prescriptions5 and the relationship between consumption and wellbeing posited in mainstream theory. These challenges might contribute to resistance within mainstream economics departments to undertaking substantive revisions of PoE curriculum in order to address sustainability, since such revisions might call attention to limitations in mainstream theorizing more generally.  2 !% % !! % ! % ! ! ! ( ! %! % ! " )( ( ! & ). ( ! 1 4 <  ) ) () %  () ! . !  & & & & !! & &  . & ! ! & & % ( & & ! % % &% . & % % !  %( ) ! !% ) % % % =% % &! % !!& & . & ,!  7  Little is known about whether recent theoretical developments, the economic crisis and evermore severe signs of ecological deterioration are creating pressure or increasing willingness to revise PoE curriculum amongst those economists who teach the courses, set the curriculum, or rely on PoE to give their students adequate training in the foundations of economics (e.g., economists situated in sustainability-oriented programs). This study was designed to shed light on the above matters. 1.3  Significance of the study  Each year, over a million students representing about 40% of first year university students in North America take one or more PoE courses. Of these students, the majority take no further university-level courses in economics. Less than 2.5% of students major in economics and less than one in 1,000 of the students who complete the principles course sequence go on to enrol in a PhD economics program (Salemi and Siegfried 1999). PoE typically involves around 70-80 hours of lectures over the course of two semesters (not including hours spent on readings, assignments and labs). Via the media, socialization, education prior to university, other university courses, their peers, co-workers, parental influences and every day economic interactions, students have and will be exposed to many conflicting knowledge claims and values that interface with economics and sustainability. In comparison to the many other influences in a student’s economic socialization (Cummings and Taebel 1978; Furnham 1994; Farmer 2005) and the diversity of settings wherein students are exposed to economic beliefs, concepts, theories and values (e.g., possibly hundreds of hours of radio or television programming that touches on economic matters), PoE might be seen as having limited potential to influence students. On the other hand, it is one of the few times that most university students are presented with and expected to master economic theory taught by an economist with the highest level of academic credentials. PoE thus has the potential to serve as an important conduit for the transmission of economic theory that has been sanctioned by the economics profession to the population at large (Benton 1990; Fourcade-Gourinchas and Babb 2002; Fourcade 2006; Sleeper 2007; Marglin 2008). However, elucidating the effects of PoE on students presents considerable challenges. 8  PoE is important even for students who major in economics and thus will take many economics courses at more advanced levels. With perhaps some exaggeration, Aslanbeigui and Naples (Aslanbeigui and Naples 1996, 12) describe undergraduate economics training with the comment that “…students get most of their economic intuition in introductory courses; upper level and graduate economics concentrate less on explanation and more on modeling or applications of basic theory.” Goodwin (2008) concurs, describing higher-level courses in economics as building from PoE ever-greater levels of abstraction and mathematical rigour and decreased real-world relevance. Thus, there is reason to believe that what economics majors learn in PoE may have a formative influence on their economic worldview and intuition. The above considerations lend support to the claim that how PoE courses address—or fail to address—environment-economy linkages and sustainability is relevant to whether universities meet their commitments to integrate sustainability across the curriculum, to graduate environmentally-literate and ecologically-responsible citizens and to contribute to more sustainable outcomes. An argument might be made that just as the integration of sustainability across the curriculum is likely to have little or no influence on what is taught in a class on medieval music, it is likewise irrelevant to PoE curriculum. This argument is rejected in this dissertation. As will be detailed in Chapter 3, the economy and the environment are inextricably linked, and many if not most contemporary environmental problems have economic drivers. If principles courses are intended to provide students with a foundation for understanding the economy, such a foundation must include a basic understanding of what dependence on the environment implies for feasible states of the economy and environmenteconomy feedback effects. This dissertation helps address a lacuna in the existing knowledge regarding the integration of sustainability across the curriculum. Since the textbooks have been documented to have significant influence on decisions regarding what material is taught to students in most PoE 9  courses (see section 2.5), this study proceeds on the assumption that the textbooks provide a suitable proxy for understanding content that might be covered in a typical course. It assesses PoE curriculum by focusing on the textbooks to document the degree of emphasis given to environment-economy linkages and sustainability and to identify potentially problematic content from a sustainability perspective. It documents how PoE lecturers and their students perceive existing PoE curriculum as it intersects with sustainability. It also documents how PoE is seen by academics who are not housed in an economics department, who have economic expertise and whose work focuses on sustainability. Further, it provides a foundation for additional research into how PoE may be affecting students’ knowledge, beliefs and values as they relate to sustainability. Of course, it should be recognized that some lecturers will teach content that departs considerably from the norm. Furthermore, what lecturers teach at the introductory level may have little to do with how they theorize about the economy. This dissertation sheds light on how the PoE course could be made more relevant to students who are concerned about the state of the environment. It also alerts economics departments to some of the theory found in the course that, from the ecological economics perspective set forth in my theoretical framework (see section 3.2), may be problematic. It is intended to support curriculum renewal in PoE courses that would help students understand and participate in decisions that have sustainability implications. For scholars of economics education and of sustainability in higher education, this project provides insights with potential lessons for a range of issues relevant to curriculum reform. From a sociology of science perspective, the findings may be relevant to the literature that examines how a discipline responds during a period when the gap between theory and the external world is continuing to widen, and, as a result of changing social priorities, normal science (Kuhn 1962)6 is increasingly called into question from outside of the discipline.  ! ! %!! >  ()? & , 6> %& !% & ) & %  !  %! :@ % ! ! % & ! &% ! % % ! & % ;  )(%! )%  .  !  %! %  10  1.4  Definition of terms  1.4.1  Sustainability commitment  A sustainability commitment is interpreted in this dissertation as a commitment made by a university when it signs a sustainability declaration intended for institutions of higher learning that commits it to addressing sustainability in operations, research and teaching. Examples include the 1990 Talloires declaration and the 1991 Halifax declaration. Since some universities have decided to act upon sustainability but have not signed onto any existing sustainability declarations (Wright 2002), it also includes written commitments to address sustainability that have substantially the same provisions as the 1990 Talloires declaration. 1.4.2  Mainstream economics  Heterodox critics often label mainstream economics as neoclassical economics. The neoclassical label is rarely used by practitioners, who refer to their discipline as economics tout court, and see non-mainstream schools of economic thought as needing to be identified with an adjective (Colander 2000a). 7 Mainstream economics is an evolving body of thought, and even from within the discipline much of the theory is contested, though practitioners generally share certain methodological commitments. Contemporary mainstream economics is the amalgam of three schools of thought that competed with each other in the mid-20th century, and although many core theoretical propositions remain in contention between these schools, the commonalities in approach between the schools were sufficient to exclude the heterodox (Mirowski 2006). At present, the discipline of economics is much less monolithic than it was in the period that began with the neoclassical synthesis that Samuelson catalyzed in the 1950s and that continued on through the 1980s. As Colander has argued, especially at the leading edge of the discipline, the economics profession is becoming more diverse in its methodological approaches, thanks in part to advances in computer processing capacity, empirical results from experimental and behavioural economics and increasing recognition  +  %  % 9! (! % % ! % & &% %!! % %!! % & A7 % &  & !! &  A  )7 !B &  %) ! & % & !7  &%  % ! % ! &  ) 11  that economies are complex systems (Colander 2000a, 2000b; Colander et al. 2004). For instance, work by Stiglitz (2000) and Akerlof (1970) on imperfect and asymmetrical information has shown how in real world conditions, where perfect information does not prevail, reliance on markets can lead to suboptimal outcomes. Such work is both mainstream (though it was not initially) and a challenge to certain tenets of mainstream theory. Thus neuroeconomics, behavioural economics, experimental economics, happiness economics and the capability approach8 have achieved varying degrees of legitimacy amongst mainstream economists. It should also be noted here that there is considerable scholarship in resource and environmental economics that is relevant to addressing sustainability and fits within the mainstream tent. (By way of contrast, ecological economics is critical of and is considered in this dissertation to be outside of the mainstream approach). For instance, externality theory can be used to argue for a broad range of Pigovian taxes or tradable emissions schemes, which, if implemented, could have a considerable effect in diminishing some polluting activities. Recent research into human wellbeing carried out by prominent economists (e.g., Layard 2005; Helliwell 2006) is giving some credence to the idea that interpersonal utility comparisons might be made, that GDP as an indicator is a poor guide to public policy (Stiglitz et al. 2009) and that policies that both reduce working hours and aggregate output could increase economic welfare. However, contributions at the frontiers of economics that might disrupt disciplinary commitments are often contested and generally take a long time to influence core theorizing (Colander et al. 2009; Colander 2010). There is a particularly long lag between when new theoretical developments first emerge and when they find their way into the PoE curriculum (Ferguson 2011).  & & !!% ) ! % ! %. ! ! ! & % ! " % , % % <-D( &% % ! %. ! ! &! !) & ), % % &% % &% -. & A % ! !& ! A !,E ! - ! ) %% % ( &% D&% !! ! !C % % % % )! ! ! (F . ( !% & % ! &% ! % &% !!% . ( ,2 )% 1 = -D & % %( )% % & . %! % () % )%1 , 63<-% !& ! & ! . % ! .% ! ) & !% () ! %! ! & ! & )&% %& & ! &% & ) % 3  !%C  12  This study is focused on mainstream economic theory as it exists in PoE textbooks and as it is performed in PoE classrooms. As Hill and Myatt (2010, 2–7) explain in The Economics Anti-Textbook, principles textbooks paint a simplistic portrait of economic theory that suggests we live in a world where perfect competition prevails, where externalities are the exception and where markets generally deliver socially optimal outcomes. Furthermore, the texts leave the impression that there is only one form of economics and that the range of opinion in the discipline is much narrower than actually exists amongst mainstream economists. What then are the key attributes of mainstream economics as they tend to be represented in most PoE classrooms and in textbooks? Synthesizing from Colander (2000a), Marglin (2008) and Hill and Myatt (2010), it is focused on a hypothetical world of perfectly competitive markets where self-interested, rational individuals seek to optimize their utility. More technically, it is centred around the efficient allocation of resources based on marginal tradeoffs, favouring an analytic approach of methodological individualism in a partial equilibrium framework where perfect competition prevails and externalities are exceptional. Individuals are assumed to have insatiable demands and to be capable of farsighted rationality. Economic problems are generally analyzed through the use of simple models and graphical analysis. The evaluative framework used has a foundation in utilitarian philosophy, and the existing distribution of wealth is generally taken as given. The environment and the economy are conceptualized as largely separable domains. In Chapter 3, I will argue that this simplified variant of economics offers students limited possibilities for understanding the roots of environmental problems and for evaluating policies intended to enhance prospects for sustainability. 1.4.3  How sustainability is understood in this dissertation  Sustainable development, or sustainability, is a contested concept, a social construction that is inherently normative and subject to diverse and evolving interpretations from various parties that often offer definitions that best suit their own interests (Robinson et al. 1990; Norton and Toman 1997; Robinson 2004). There has been a general shift in language from sustainable development to sustainability, in part because the language is more inclusive and 13  open to the re-examination of values and lifestyles (Robinson 2004); accordingly, sustainability is the term I rely upon in this study. I take the position here that for the purposes of this study, there is no need to precisely define sustainability. Sustainability involves a desired state or moral principle like peace, justice or human rights. Each of these is impossible to precisely describe and lacks a widely agreed upon definition; it is often easier to recognize when these desired states or principles have been violated than it is to know when they have been achieved. These desired states and moral principles evolve over time as societies deliberate on and seek to make progress towards their achievement or as new knowledge emerges. Notwithstanding the impossibility of pinning down a definitive definition of sustainability, I proceed in this dissertation on the basis that the concept of sustainability foregrounds the need to reconcile, from a long-term perspective, humanity’s economic, environmental and social priorities in a manner that addresses equity within and between generations, and that takes into account ecological constraints that delimit, over the long run, the range of feasible human activities. While I do not settle upon a definition of sustainability, it is useful to foreground a key divergence between reformist and transformational interpretations of sustainability. Reformist interpretations of sustainability remain close to the original Brundtland formulation of sustainable development (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987), whereby status quo economic activities and institutional arrangements of liberal market societies are generally considered sound (Rist 2003, 178–188). To achieve sustainability, priority is placed on the greening of economic activity through incremental reforms and the adoption of more ecologically-efficient technologies; economic growth remains a desired macroeconomic policy. In the transformational variants of sustainability, while eco-efficiency is still important, economic growth is no longer seen as desirable; advocates of this perspective argue for implementing stringent constraints on human appropriation of the biosphere, with economic activity limited to that which can take place within such parameters. Furthermore, societies will have to redistribute wealth to ensure greater equity, adopt new values and pursue less materialistic lifestyles (Wackernagel and Rees 1997; Clifton 2010). Whether the end result would still be recognizable as a liberal 14  market society is openly debated (Speth 2008; Smith 2010; Lawn 2011). However, according to Clifton (2010, 75), the overarching goal of both the reformist and the transformational variants is to achieve a sustainable world that provides for “the flourishing of life, incorporating human and ecological wellbeing, maintained over an indefinite time frame, with this wellbeing grounded in principles of intra-generational and inter-generational justice.” Advocates at the transformational end of the spectrum tend to see the reformist approach to sustainability as unlikely to forestall continued degradation of the biosphere (Rees 2003a, 2010; Jucker 2004). To be transparent about my own stance, based on my interpretation of the sustainability literature and my engagement with the ecological economics literature, I assume that sustainability requires attention to a complex set of issues so as to ensure that human demands upon ecosystems are within the biophysical carrying capacity of Earth. These issues include deepening society’s understanding of ecological systems, processes and limits; revisiting society’s macroeconomic goals and its understanding of economic development; redesigning modern lifestyles to reduce their ecological impacts; redesigning production processes and products to reduce their resource requirements and waste emissions over their life cycle; implementing institutional arrangements and governance systems to ensure effective management of the commons, resources and landscapes; and redressing inequities in the distribution of wealth (Robinson et al. 1990; Costanza and Patten 1995; Daly 2002; Huesemann 2003; Robinson 2004; Sneddon et al. 2006; Howarth 2007). However, in this dissertation I do not advocate for any one interpretation of sustainability. My primary motivation is instead the belief that universities should equip students to understand and participate in deliberations concerning sustainability and use their knowledge to foster sustainability. In this dissertation, I have proceeded on the basis that examining how sustainability is addressed in PoE requires that one attend to environment-economy linkages. If students are to have the concepts, tools and framework for addressing sustainability, it would seem reasonable that they would benefit from an improved understanding of linkages between the economy and the environment. These linkages include how the economy depends upon 15  renewable and non-renewable resources that are extracted from the environment and returned as waste products; how habitats and landforms are often converted in the process of economic development in order to increase the production of desired outputs such as crops; how the state of the environment enhances or constrains various economic activities; and how natural resources and ecosystem services support the economic process. For this reason, this study incorporates an examination of how environment-economy linkages are conceptualized in PoE. Thus, though this study is focused on examining the implications of universities’ sustainability commitments to PoE curriculum, I have proceeded on the assumption that attending to sustainability requires a broader analytical lens that incorporates environment-economy linkages. Thus, I examine PoE using the lens of environmenteconomy linkages and sustainability (henceforth, EELS). One further note is warranted here to avoid potential confusion. The terms sustainable and sustainability arise frequently in the financial press. In these contexts, the terms are often interpreted in a narrow financial sense without reference to ecological constraints, such as when debt levels are declared to be unsustainable. In this research project, sustainability has the broader interpretation that takes into consideration ecological conditions and constraints as described earlier. 1.4.4  Sustainability-oriented program (SOP)  A sustainability-oriented program is defined in this dissertation as a program whose focus inherently relates to questions of sustainability, whose students are expected to be familiar with the main issues that are deliberated in the sustainability literature, and whose students would be qualified for and/or gravitate towards work in resource management or the environmental sector upon graduation. SOP programs identified at the three case study universities that met the criteria of requiring or encouraging their undergraduate students to take one or both PoE courses were: •  Faculty of Forestry (Forest Resources Management / Natural Resources Conservation), University of British Columbia  •  Faculty of Land and Food Systems (Food and Environment Major / Applied Plant and Soil Sciences Major / Global Resource Systems), University of British Columbia 16  •  School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria  •  Environmental Science Program, Simon Fraser University.  1.4.5  Coherence and plausibility  One of the questions I investigate in this dissertation is whether addressing sustainability in PoE creates issues of coherence and plausibility for the mainstream theory that most PoE students are learning.9 How do I define plausibility and coherence and why are they important?10 Nooteboom (1986, 208), in an article that argues for the importance of plausibility as a criterion for theory choice in economics, summarizes the meaning of plausibility as “to be plausible, a proposition should be ‘well connected’ or ‘coherent’ … with established (purported) knowledge.”11 The process of integrating EELS into PoE may require that theory produced in the natural sciences or other disciplines be brought to bear on economic theory; from the standpoint of this foreign theory, aspects of the economic theory currently in use may be seen to lack plausibility. Furthermore, in this process of incorporating EELS, it is possible that the economic theory being taught will be perturbed in that the logical connections or relations amongst the various components of theory will be weakened, with the end result being that the theory being presented loses coherence.12 If theory is not coherent, if it does not promote an interconnected, integrated understanding of the world, then it may offer little by way of explanatory power. If students are learning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incoherent theory they will be left to reconcile incoherency on their own. They may be less likely to develop expert knowledge in a domain since experts are known to organize knowledge in a manner that implies coherence, e.g., creating meaningful relationships between various elements using the principles that are applicable within the domain (Wieman and Perkins 2005; Roseman et al. 2010). A lack of coherence is also likely a sign that the theory itself may lack explanatory power when confronted with novel considerations (e.g., ecological limits). A lack of coherence also implies too much flexibility, such that individual theorists can reinterpret terms, concepts or theories, or engage in ad hoc modification of hypotheses or models so as to suit their own particular interest (Teira 2009). Likewise, if addressing EELS reduces or calls into question the plausibility of theory (e.g., teaching that growth can occur indefinitely despite finite resources while also teaching how the economic process involves throughput of materials and energy13), then students may well wonder why they are learning theory that seems implausible. 1.5  Research questions  The above review provides support for my premise that how PoE courses address—or fail to address—environment-economy linkages and sustainability is relevant to assessing how well universities are performing at addressing their commitments to integrate sustainability across the curriculum, to graduate environmentally-literate and ecologically-responsible citizens and to contribute to more sustainable outcomes. With the above in mind, the research questions that motivated my research are as set out below. Central research question What are the key implications of sustainability commitments made by universities to the PoE curriculum?  4  1  1  4  % ! !!  &  &  %  !  %  ! 18  Research questions applicable to PoE textbooks (Chapter 5) 1. What proportion of PoE textbooks in use in BC, as well as the leading North American textbooks, addresses environment-economy linkages and sustainability, and how does this compare to a pair of textbooks written expressly to attend to sustainability? 2. What does content analysis of PoE textbooks indicate with respect to how environmenteconomy linkages and sustainability are conceptualized? Research questions applicable to PoE lecturers (Chapter 6) 3. How do economists in standard economics departments who teach or are involved in setting PoE curriculum perceive the existing PoE course in terms of its relevance to sustainability and the adequacy of its treatment of sustainability? 4. From the perspective of these economists, does the PoE curriculum require revising to address sustainability? If so, what are the nature and the extent of revisions that they deem desirable? 5. From the perspective of these economists, does integrating sustainability into the PoE curriculum result in a course that has the potential to undermine the plausibility or coherence of standard economic theory as it is presented at the principles level? If so, how do they resolve this dilemma? Research questions applicable to SOP professors (Chapter 6) 6. How do senior administrators, economists and faculty members who have economics expertise and are affiliated with sustainability-oriented programs perceive the relevance of the PoE course to sustainability and its suitability as a principles course for students who are majoring in sustainability-oriented programs? 7. From the perspective of these individuals, does the PoE curriculum require revising to address sustainability? If so, what is the nature and the extent of revisions that they deem desirable? 8. From the perspective of these individuals, does integrating sustainability into the PoE curriculum result in a course that has the potential to undermine the plausibility or coherence of standard economic theory as it is presented at the principles level? If so, how do they resolve this dilemma? Research questions applicable to PoE students (Chapter 8) 9. How do students who are majoring in economics and who have taken PoE perceive the course in terms of its relevance to addressing sustainability? 10. How do students who are registered in sustainability-oriented programs and who have taken PoE perceive the course in terms of its relevance to addressing sustainability?  19  11. What aspects of PoE do these two subpopulations of students perceive as providing concepts and tools that enable them to better engage in sustainability issues, what content do they feel should have been added to the course and what content do they feel was problematic from a sustainability perspective? 1.6  Limitations  This study relies on a case study of PoE courses as taught at BC’s three major publiclyfunded universities, and faces limitations common to studies that use qualitative research methods. Because of the limited number of students interviewed, the targeted recruitment methods (which deliberately overrepresented SOP students) and the qualitative research methods relied upon (Miles and Huberman 1994; Berg 1998; Creswell 2007), the results presented herein are intended to add to depth of understanding, but are not intended to be generalizable. However, given the documented similarities in economics instruction across North American universities (Walstad et al. 1998; Colander 2000c; Becker and Watts 2001; Knoedler and Underwood 2003; Walstad and Rebeck 2008), I argue that the theoretical insights generated will be relevant to universities beyond BC. 1.7  Delimitations  This dissertation focuses on first year mainstream economics courses offered at universities that are publicly committed to sustainability. It does not attend to higher-level courses, economics as taught in the public school system or heterodox economics courses. It will also be less relevant in those cases where lecturers depart significantly from the norm in the content they teach or the type of PoE textbook that they use. In the analysis undertaken in this dissertation, I focus on ecological aspects of sustainability and downplay social aspects, especially intragenerational equity. This is for pragmatic reasons. The sustainability literature is quite clear that sustainability has social, cultural and economic dimensions. For instance, improving equity within and between generations is considered an important aspect of sustainability (Hopwood et al. 2005). However, because much of economic theory and policy affects the allocation of resources and the distribution of wealth, and hence touches on equity in some manner, the analytical task of examining how PoE curriculum attends to the social and equity aspects of sustainability could quickly 20  become overwhelming. Given that ecological sustainability is a prerequisite for the long-term persistence of functional human societies wherein equity is a relevant concern, I reasoned that focusing on the environmental dimension of sustainability would suffice as an initial assessment of PoE, would make the analysis more tractable and increase the likelihood the results would be considered relevant by those who might consider revising PoE curriculum. Nonetheless, aspects of equity are addressed where particularly relevant. 1.8  Assumptions  I have proceeded on the assumption that participants have generally answered questions to the best of their ability without intent to misrepresent. 1.9  Organization of the study  In Chapter 2, I review literature that I identified as relevant to the present study, focusing on the sustainability in higher education and the economics education literatures. I also examine other studies that involve content analysis of economics textbooks and diverse sources that provide insights into the potential impact of PoE courses on students and society at large. Chapter 3 sets out my theoretical framework, which is derived from the ecological economics literature as well as literatures related to the sociology of higher education initiated by Basil Bernstein, Pierre Bourdieu, Margaret Archer and Bruno Latour. In particular, I focus on aspects of these literatures that various scholars have drawn upon for theoretical support in studies related to the field of higher education. Chapter 4 provides a rationale for my choice of qualitative research methods, sets out the methodology used to support the content analysis of textbooks and explains how interview guides were developed and how the resulting dataset was analyzed. Chapter 5 reports on the results of the textbook analysis, attending first to the proportion of the texts devoted to EELS and then engaging with the content to demonstrate how the texts conceptualize environment-economy linkages and sustainability. Chapter 6 reports on the results of interviews with lecturers involved in teaching PoE and contrasts them with findings from the interviews with SOP professors. Chapter 7 reports on the results of student interviews, providing insights on how students perceive PoE as well as data regarding how well the course prepares them to think through a  21  contemporary public policy issue about the environment. Chapter 8 discusses the results of this dissertation in light of the literature and offers some recommendations for universities seeking to meet their sustainability commitments.  22  Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1  Chapter overview  –  ! "#  In this chapter, to better understand what current thinking on best practice in terms of universities meeting their sustainability commitments through teaching, I begin by reviewing the sustainability in higher education literature. This provides a basis for the presumption throughout this dissertation that if a university intends to meet its sustainability commitments, PoE curriculum will need to be re-examined from a new angle. I then turn to literatures that address the sociology of the economics discipline, socialization within economics, theory choice in economics and economics education to build a foundation for understanding the PoE course, the profession’s concerns about existing curriculum, the student experience and to assess the degree to which PoE courses are standardized. The degree of standardization is important, since it indicates the extent to which the findings of this study may be relevant elsewhere in North America. I also review a limited literature that explores the extent to which biases and hidden normative content are found in PoE textbooks, including content that may be problematic from a sustainability perspective. This review also aids in understanding the methodology that other researchers have used to analyze economics textbooks, informing the methods used in Chapter 5:. Unfortunately there is little in the economics education literature that is directly focused on how environment-economy linkages and sustainability are addressed in undergraduate curriculum.  23  To establish that what is taught in PoE may have some influence on the economic policies adopted by a society and hence on prospects for sustainability, since there is little direct evidence, I seek out indirect evidence with respect to how economics education and especially the introductory economics variants thereof impact on society. In recent years, a new research program has emerged on what has been called the performativity of economics. In this perspective, economics does not so much describe the world but rather actually shapes the economy because economists generate theories and tools and actively seek to shape institutions and these ideas and changes in the rules of the game influence economic actors, such that the world eventually comes to resemble the theory. Another source of indirect evidence on how PoE ultimately affects society which I review are the efforts diverse actors have applied to influence what is taught in introductory economics. These efforts suggest that the individuals involved believe that what happens in PoE courses eventually influences society and affects economic policies and outcomes. I then consider research that suggests the business sector in the US has sought to promote and participate in efforts to foster economics education at both the university and the public school level. The final source of indirect evidence comes from considering a still inconclusive literature on how studying economics affects student beliefs and values. Researchers have sought to determine whether the model of self-interested behaviour that dominates undergraduate economics influences student values and actions through experiments that test students’ willingness to contribute to public goods and to cooperate. A related literature is considered that examines whether undergraduate economics training fosters a shift in political attitudes. Given this dissertation's preoccupation with sustainability, the limited evidence with respect to how economics training affects students’ beliefs and attitudes and values when it comes to the environment is then examined.  24  2.2  Sustainability in higher education literature $  '  %$ & ( ) *#  The sustainability in higher education literature presents a spectrum of views on the responsibilities held by universities (Sterling 2004a). Scholars whose views are the most compatible with the status quo see higher education’s responsibility as producing graduates who can contribute to a relatively modest course correction towards the greening of production and consumption. At the opposite pole are scholars who have come to the conclusion that fundamental changes that would radically alter production, consumption and distribution are required. In their view, institutions of higher education need to be overhauled to produce graduates able to redesign the socioeconomic system (Haigh 2005; M’Gonigle and Starke 2006a, 2006b; Kahn 2008; Stephens et al. 2008). A review of sustainability declarations and commitments made by universities found common themes. Universities should ensure that they graduate students who are environmentally literate, guided by environmental ethics and take moral responsibility for promoting sustainability (Wright 2002). These same findings are echoed in an appraisal of efforts around the globe to ensure that Higher Education Institutions (HEI) provide Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): +  % , -  .'/ 0 '1 .'  .  * 2"#  When campus sustainability assessment tools (Shriberg 2004), sustainability declarations, university commitments to sustainability (Wright 2002; Haigh 2005; McMillin and Dyball 2009) and literature on sustainability in higher education (Martin and Jucker 2005; Moore 2005a) are considered, it appears that a consensus has emerged that sustainability must be  25  integrated across the curriculum, rather than merely being tacked onto existing degree requirements in the form of ecoliteracy courses. From this perspective, graduating students need to have an understanding of humanity’s ecological predicament, the sustainability imperative and interrelated social issues in order to leave university equipped for informed participation in decisions that have sustainability implications (Moore 2004). Furthermore, students must be able to consider, evaluate and use information from diverse disciplinary perspectives (Foster 1999; Pearson et al. 2005; Sherren 2008). However, Sherren (2010, 261) observes that the characteristics of sustainability “make it difficult to define a successful student ‘output’, and harder still to attribute any such success – typically expressed over the long term – to any particular curriculum intervention.” While universities could develop and require students to complete a sustainability module prior to graduation, such add-ons are seen as ineffectual and problematic. One reason for this view is that add-ons tend to be confined to the introductory level and are seen by students as covering discrete knowledge that must be mastered to meet degree requirements, but can subsequently be forgotten because it is not relevant to the student’s main area of concentration. They can quickly become token courses from both a learning and a provisioning perspective (Haigh 2005). Further, what students learn in ecoliteracy “bolt-ons” is often contradicted by content in the core curriculum that countenances unsustainability (Sterling 2004b), and students are left on their own to deal with such incoherence. The addon approach also fails to challenge the tendency to erect and defend walls between disciplines, and unnecessarily limits the university’s contribution to a “collective social conversation” (M’Gonigle and Starke 2006a, 331) by adding little to students’ ability to reevaluate society’s priorities and find broadly supported solutions to complex problems that are not the province of any one discipline. University curriculum is often explicitly intended to affect values, for example to promote the adoption of liberal democratic values (Ewert and Baker 2001). Some scholars argue that universities have long been an important institution in imparting beliefs in the project of modernity, whereby the world is theorized in a way that locates society beyond nature and where nature’s role is to provide the raw materials to support economic growth (Huckle and 26  Sterling 1996; Bosselmann 2001; M’Gonigle and Starke 2006a). From this perspective, universities have played an important role in reproducing the dominant social paradigm, with its promotion of consumerism, economic growth and development, its privileging of private property rights and markets and its neglect of nature except to the extent that it can be appropriated for human use. It would not be a coincidence then that the societies that place the most emphasis on education also tend to be those with the largest ecological footprints (Rees 2003b; Jucker 2004). Accordingly, some scholars contend that advocates of sustainability should be more attentive to the role tertiary curriculum has played in undermining sustainability (Orr 1992, 2004). For Bosselmann (2001, 184), in addressing sustainability, “…the grand narratives of modernity are at stake and it is doubtful that the university curriculum is capable of transcending its own traditions.” A recent study found that business schools are sites of socialization “whereby students are inculcated with a particular worldview that draws on the values and assumptions of Anglo-American capitalism” dressed up as technical rationality (Ferguson et al. 2011, 14). Universities have become increasingly dependent on private funding and collaborations with industry participants, and have evolved toward a more entrepreneurial model, with the end result being a form of academic capitalism (Silva and Slaughter 1984; Slaughter and Rhoades 2004; Metcalfe 2010). This symbiosis of capital and the university seems likely to impinge upon the ability of universities to offer an in-depth critique of the long-term viability of the economic system in which they are enmeshed. Indeed, commitments to reorienting education towards sustainability are in tension with the imperative to prepare students to compete in a global economy driven by neoliberal values (Chapman et al. 2006; Coté et al. 2007). It would be simplistic to see students as entering universities, encountering curriculum and leaving after having been socialized or indoctrinated with values and worldviews consistent with the dominant social paradigm. In North America, most students enter university after having gone through the public school system. Therefore, most will have been influenced to a degree by whatever ideologies are enmeshed in public school curriculum (Gewirtz and Cribb 2009, 112–120). In the US case, Apple (2004) contends that public school curriculum provides support for the existing social order with its inequitable distributions of wealth, 27  opportunity and power. Based on a large body of data, economists Bowles and Gintis (1975, 2002), advanced the claim that the public school system mirrors workplaces, teaching students to function as obedient workers in hierarchical modern corporations. However, by the time students walk through a university’s gates as young adults, their agency is much increased; they may ignore, resist, contest or reshape the values and worldviews they encounter in lecture halls. Furthermore, some disciplines and faculty members will offer perspectives that also call the conventional wisdom into question. While corporate interests may influence the priorities of universities, other interests and values are also at work, and many academics continue to hold the Mertonian belief that the purpose of universities is to foster disinterested, sceptical and non-commercial inquiry (Slaughter and Rhoades 2004, 102–107). While universities have played an important role in creating unsustainable societies by, for instance, training engineers who run factories that degrade the environment, they have also played an important role in graduating scientists who develop climate change models and journalists who expose corporations for degrading the environment. The key issue moving forward is whether, across the disciplines, universities can graduate individuals who are equipped to understand the sustainability challenge, are motivated to act and have the skill set to positively contribute to a more sustainable future (Moore 2004, 2005a). Universities’ efforts to address sustainability have been described as “lethargic” (Bosselmann 2001, 170) and some of the adjustments made to date have been characterized as rhetorical and cosmetic (Chapman et al. 2006). In the UK, while universities have made progress in greening their operations, they have lagged at incorporating sustainability into the curriculum and will likely continue to do so unless explicit incentives are put in place to encourage and reward this type of innovation (Sterling and Scott 2008). Researchers in Australia found that in diverse disciplines, sustainability was not part of the vocabulary of university lecturers and their definitions and interpretations of the concept were frequently naïve and that they held perspectives that impeded the integration of sustainability across the curriculum (Reid and Petocz 2006).  28  Initiatives promoting sustainability in higher education have led some academics to raise concerns that in committing to supporting sustainability, academic freedom may be sacrificed, since faculty are being asked to promote a given set of values and to indoctrinate students (e.g.,Wimberley 2010). However, while academic freedom is important, universities also have responsibilities to serve the long-term needs of the societies that sustain them (Barnett 2011a, 100–105). Furthermore, it is not controversial that universities seek to imbue their students with certain values; after all, the doctors they convocate are expected to hold certain values pertaining to patient care and ethical conduct (Shephard 2009). While the debate around education and values is ongoing, the literature of sustainability in higher education seems to be cohering around the idea that meeting a university’s sustainability commitment does not in fact require faculty to inculcate students with a given set of values and beliefs. Instead, faculty’s role is described as helping students develop the capacity to evaluate and clarify their own values in a manner that takes into account humanity’s sustainability challenges and helps students discern how prevailing values can undermine sustainability and wellbeing (Cook et al. 2010; Mulder 2010). Unless predominant values are brought into the open and scrutinized, institutions of higher learning are likely to end up tacitly endorsing and reproducing those same values. Thus, in either case, faculty are engaged in supporting a set of values.14 At Cardiff University, an audit of 5,800 courses found that compartmentalization, overspecialization and reductionism interfered with the diffusion of sustainability into the curriculum (Lozano 2010). Barnett, a leading contributor to higher education scholarship, explores feasible utopias for the university, settling on the “ecological university” as his preferred alternative. He argues that a university that does justice to the idea of a university should take “seriously both the world’s interconnectedness and the university’s interconnectedness with the world” (Barnett  *  ! %!  ) . ! . &% %  % ! &% % )%!! !! & !% ! )  ! !9! ! % %( ) % ! ! % % !% ! !% & % ! ! %  ! % % ! % & . !& ! %  !(  ) F  C !  ) 29  2011b, 451–452). Such a university would both embody hope for, and critique of, the world order and sustainability; Barnett argues that such positioning would help ensure the continued social licence and relevance of the public university. The fact that there has been limited progress on integrating sustainability into curriculum is not surprising, since curriculum changes take a long time under the best of conditions. For instance, Desha-Smith et al (2009) found that when it came to adjusting to new industry or accreditation expectations in the engineering field, it took 15 to 20 years for the curriculum to be updated; under a proposed process of rapid curriculum renewal, this time lag might be reduced to 8 to 12 years. McNamara (2010) reasoned that monetary incentives and a reduced teaching load would enable faculty to integrate sustainability into curriculum. There are few articles in the sustainability in higher education literature that evaluate how the integration of sustainability into the curriculum could call into question the plausibility and coherence of a discipline’s theory, methodology and starting assumptions. In other words, might successful integration require that some theories and analytical tools, developed before current concerns over sustainability surfaced, be discarded in favour of others that better account for human dependence on the natural world? For instance, Rusinko (2010) offers examples of how a marketing course might include sustainability content without critical analysis of the role marketing plays in promoting consumerism. In another case, researchers documented progress at integrating sustainability into the curriculum at 22 Flemish applied economics programs (Ceulemans et al. 2010). Some participants in the study apparently reasoned that because their program was about applied economics, it addressed sustainability since it attended to the economic pillar of sustainability. The other pillars were not considered to be within their program’s purview, hence little or no curriculum change was needed to address sustainability. The researchers in this study do not appear to have considered the possibility that the applied economic theory being taught in such programs could be problematic from a sustainability perspective and require revisiting. There are a few exceptions to the above pattern which show that when working to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum, some lecturers and departments are willing to 30  consider the extent to which their discipline relies upon theory that itself may have shortcomings for understanding environment-economy relationships. For instance, an Australian MBA program has experimented with having students think about sustainability by not only drawing on the neoclassical economic framework that pervades the MBA program, but also by contrasting this approach with the implications for sustainability of the ecocentric and ecological modernization frameworks (Stubbs and Cocklin 2008). Springett (2010) describes updating the business studies curriculum to highlight the ideological struggle between business models that remain dependent upon continued economic growth and a growing constituency that question the desirability of future growth given ecological limits. A recent examination of the business curriculum at an university in Australia argues that the “conventional curricula of business schools reproduce socially and ecologically unsustainable values of affluent consumer society” (von der Heidt and Lamberton 2011, 676). The authors highlight that business schools have a choice to make between integrating weak and strong variants of sustainability into their curriculum, and stress that curriculum modifications will differ substantially depending on what variant is chosen, since some interpretations of strong sustainability call into question the viability of capitalism. For example, at the university where the case study was conducted, one of the required courses now incorporates a critique of neoclassical economics. Proposing an even more radical shift grounded in neo-Aristotelian principles, McKenna and Biloslavo argue that business school curriculum should make students question orthodox views that the end goal of business is to maximize shareholder value. Instead they believe that business schools should teach that the primary goal of the private sector is to promote human flourishing (McKenna and Biloslavo 2011, 699). I was unable to find academic research that specifically addressed how the sustainability education movement has influenced PoE curriculum to date. While Plumridge (2010) finds that undergraduate economics education in the UK does not engage with sustainability, and though he refers in one section of his paper to ecological economics literature in a cursory manner, his analysis is limited to identifying aspects of mainstream economics curriculum 31  that are relevant to sustainability. He does not appear to contemplate the possibility that the mainstream theory being taught may be problematic from a sustainability perspective. 2.3  The sociology of the economics discipline  Economics emerged as a discipline and achieved recognition as a profession relatively recently in North America. Initially, funding for universities was precarious and largely dependent on funding from wealthy members of the business establishment or their charitable foundations (Silva and Slaughter 1984). The few social science academics who advocated for fundamental changes to the economic order to improve social justice generally saw their career opportunities wither. A much safer – and more common – course of action was to restrict one’s scholarship to focus on fine tuning the existing social order rather than uprooting it. Thus, most participants in the new profession of economics offered “technical rationalization of industrial capitalism that reinforced public appreciation of the correctness of centralist ideology. In return, they got an opportunity to use their expertise” (Silva and Slaughter 1984, 150). In the final decades of the 20th century, PhDs were being overproduced in North America, all the while public funding for the academy was stagnating, leading to a loss of guild power for the professions, including the economics profession, such that the average academic economist was left vulnerable (Krause 1996). With a large field of qualified individuals seeking out a small number of positions, individual academics were under considerable pressure to demonstrate that they were productive members of their profession. The result of this loss in guild power was that leeway for criticism of market society contracted within academia (Krause 1996). Krause’s view of the precariousness of academic positions is supported by that of Holligan (2011), who uses the metaphor of feudalism to describe contemporary academia. To address budgetary shortfalls occasioned by stagnant public funding, contemporary universities have developed partnerships with corporations and sought financial returns from their investments in research, the end result being that they have shifted to a regime of academic capitalism (Slaughter and Rhoades 2004). There are several implications of this 32  shift, including reduced leeway for critical inquiry into the appropriateness of prevailing economic arrangements: “The idea of a college or university as a space for public discussion, debate, commentary and critique is pushed to the background” (Slaughter and Rhoades 2004, 333). In the early decades of the 20th century, it was common for non-neoclassical economists and especially institutional economists to hold positions in American economics departments. However, as the century progressed, a number of factors, such as metrics of academic output adopted by the profession, the red scare, McCarthyism and the influence of business interests resulted in most economics departments purging themselves of anything more than one or two token heterodox economists. Likewise, most graduate courses in heterodox economics were dropped from the calendar (Lee 2009; Mata 2009). Funding of economic research by the Cowles Commission and by the US military through the RAND Corporation was instrumental in privileging a more formal approach to theorizing (Hounshell 1997; Mirowski 2002). Indeed, for most contemporary mainstream economists, economic theory not represented through formal models is not real economics (McCloskey 1998, 143–144). Since transmitting tacit knowledge about the economy from one generation of economists to the next is relatively difficult, knowledge of formal technique, which is easier to transmit, has been overemphasized (Reay 2010, 103). This shift towards formalism devalued much of the research undertaken by heterodox economists, as it tended to address research questions less amenable to mathematical representation. By 1980, only eight departments offered non-mainstream PhD programs, and departments that eliminated their heterodox faculty positions improved their rankings. Departments also eliminated courses in the history of economic thought and hence reduced the likelihood that students would encounter heterodox theories (Lee 2009; Dow 2011). By Lee’s estimates, from 1941-1970, less than 3% of PhD students in economics had received substantive instruction in heterodox economics (Lee 2009, 40).  33  Between 1970 and 2000, systems for ranking economic journals and departments were codified, and promotion was increasingly based on publications in higher-ranked journals. Such rankings reinforced orthodoxy and undermined the position of heterodox economists and their journals, many of which were excluded from the ranking system (Lee 2009). Accordingly, mainstream economists value publication in the leading journals and heavily discount publication elsewhere (Harley and Lee 1997; Mackie 1998). Heilbroner and Milberg (1995) found that from 1973-1978, seven economics departments accounted for 54% of the articles in the American Economic Review, while for the Quarterly Journal of Economics the figure was 74%. Mainstream journals form a tight network of self-citation, with journal rankings creating a “self-reproducing and self-reinforcing logic” (Dobusch and Kapeller 2009, 885). More broadly, other scholars have found that economic theorizing by those who have not completed an advanced degree in economics from one of the leading orthodox departments is heavily discounted or ignored (Fourcade-Gourinchas 2001; Schiffman 2004; Fourcade 2006; Goodwin 2008). Based on interviews in which American economists working in both academic and applied settings were asked to assess the usefulness of economic theory, Reay (2007) found that practitioners considered economic theory produced within academia to be overly abstract and disconnected to external reality and hence largely unsuitable for substantive use. Nevertheless, despite the fact expert disciplinary knowledge is of little use, economists have been able to maintain their status as professionals offering expert knowledge considered authoritative by society because they are entrenched in diverse institutions and are seen to hold a unique core skill set (Reay 2007). The economics profession crafts an image of itself for public consumption as being engaged in unbiased scientific analysis by referring back to its use of highly formal models (Reay 2010). 2.3.1  Socialization within economics  Both Colander and Klamer have conducted primary research on the graduate education of economists. Their initial joint research project (Colander and Klamer 1987) involved surveying graduate students at six top-ranked economics departments in 1985. For them, the key characteristics of graduate school are that it “certifies economists as professionals, it 34  establishes economists' view of argumentation and guides them as to what is important to study and what is not” (Colander and Klamer 1987, 95). As part of their research, Colander and Klamer asked respondents about the importance of readings in other disciplines to their training as economists.15 Their results show that interdisciplinarity is not valued while mathematical competence is highly valued. For the first two years of graduate training, these students were required to focus on techniques relevant to formal modelling, leaving little time to attend to real-world phenomena. When graduate students were asked to nominate factors that contribute to professional success, 57% thought ‘excellence in mathematics’ was very important and a further 41% saw it as moderately important. The authors conclude that in elite graduate programs in economics, “some very real socialization process is going on” (Colander and Klamer 1987, 109). In an update to the 1985 survey, Colander (2005b) found little change in the profile and educational experience of a typical graduate economics student at an elite institution: “economics today would likely still appear highly technical, theoretical and unconcerned with reality…”(Colander 2005b, 181). Of particular relevance to assessing the prospects for the economics discipline to embrace interdisciplinarity and to draw on the environmental sciences, 81% of this cohort of graduate student respondents had majored in economics, 21% had majored in math, while all other majors came to 22%.16 Colander interprets this interview data as showing that elite economics programs emphasize technique over economic reasoning and that prospective economics graduate students are being filtered based on their comfort with applying advanced mathematical techniques. This information raises concerns about what types of thinkers are being scared off from pursuing graduate studies in economics. Congruent with Colander’s findings, in a 2001 survey of professional economists in the US and Canada, Davis (2007) found that only 4.5% strongly agreed and 21.1% agreed that “economists are amenable to interdisciplinary research approaches.” Also, 16% strongly < & ! ) ! &% ! ! ! % ! % ) > & %! ! %  % &%  !! H  % &% ! " !  &  %! ! ! ! &% & ! % & !% ! % ) % ! ! !( ( %F !  )%! % % &  !  35  agreed and 40.6% agreed that one’s school affiliation influences the probability that an article will be accepted, while 25.5 % strongly agreed and 42.5% agreed that author recognition influences publication. 20.4% and 39.3% saw a ‘good-old-boy’ network influencing acceptance, and fluency in mathematics was seen as an essential ingredient for publishing research in top journals. Some sociologists have delved into the socialization of economists and the processes that structure disciplines. Fourcade (2006) argues that due to the globalization of economies and the increasing need for economic experts to service the nation state, transnational corporations and international institutions, training and intellectual development in economics has increasingly been defined at the global level. Not just any economist will do. Unlike credentials in professions like medicine, an economics PhD is internationally transportable, though degrees from the elite institutions in the US (followed by the UK) have the highest credibility. Authoritative work in economics is believed to emanate from the US. As a result, according to Fourcade, what happens in US graduate education in economics influences programs around the world and thereby further shapes the profession as well as the development of economic theory and policy. 2.4  Theory choice in economics  Various scholars have researched the mechanisms that cause the economics profession to either maintain core tenets and methodological positions or to embrace new positions or practices. Theories that explore how scientific knowledge evolves, such as those proposed by Kuhn (1962) and Lakatos (Lakatos and Musgrave 1974), provide a starting point to understanding how PoE curriculum might evolve and how those involved in delivering PoE might react to challenges created by concern over environmental deterioration and societal interest in sustainability. From the Lakatosian perspective, it is extremely difficult for external criticism and data to undermine core theory because the core of scientific research programs is surrounded by a protective belt of auxiliary assumptions. Blaug (1975), examining the applicability of the theories of Kuhn and Lakatos to economics, argues that economists are inclined to disregard empirical refutation of theory and are deeply committed to the welfare implications of economic theory. 36  Mackie (1998) has carefully examined how theories are adopted, modified or discarded by the economics profession over time. He finds that theory development is influenced by a number of non-scientific criteria and constrained by a number of factors, including a caste system that operates in economics. As part of his research, he conducted a survey of journal referees. Common reasons referees reported for rejecting an article were that it: was without new insights, was poorly written, was uninteresting, contained insignificant results, was low quality, showed insufficient awareness of existing literature or did not prove what it purported to prove. However, only 3% of referees listed “too little contact with reality or lack of relevance,” which Mackie interprets as a sign that referees pay limited attention to empirical appraisal criteria (Mackie 1998, 102). Thus, despite mainstream economics’ enthusiasm for the positivist research paradigm, Mackie documents that empirical falsification is not important in theory choice; theories are not rejected despite poor performance at explaining economic phenomena. When a significant innovation in heterodox economic theory emerges, it has sometimes been assimilated into the body of mainstream theory in a manner that makes it compatible with the standard model. In this way, more revolutionary aspects that could disrupt the corpus of mainstream theory are discarded or attenuated. Thus, Keynes’ General Theory, initially seen as a threat to the neoclassical project, was absorbed into mainstream thinking via the neoclassical synthesis, but Keynes’ emphasis on uncertainty, liquidity preference, imperfect markets and expectations was lost (Dobusch and Kapeller 2009). Fourcade (2009) has documented the political and economic forces that influence economic theorizing and professional identities in four countries. She concluded that because economic theorizing in the four countries differed subtly in a manner that reflects domestic political considerations, economic knowledge is intertwined with politics. Despite an external critique regarding the poor fit between economic theory and reality, Fourcade found that economists “remain intensely concerned with, and constantly struggle over, their representations of an underlying economic ‘reality,’ even in their most abstract endeavours” (Fourcade 2009, 262). Yet the profession strives to portray itself as engaged in value neutral theorizing (Hausman 37  and McPherson 1996, 6). For instance, economists working in American universities characterized economic research as being an objective undertaking, except in instances where they were explicitly researching public policy (Gross 2011). A form of path dependence has been offered as an explanation for the dominance of mainstream economics. Once one school of thought prevails, mutual dependence amongst scientists, the benefits of coordination, learning effects and increasing returns all reinforce the prevailing school and make it more difficult for other schools of thought to gain adherents (Dobusch and Kapeller 2009). Junior economists have to play within the mainstream sandbox of permitted puzzles in order to be taken seriously, to qualify for funding and to be entered into the pool of economists eligible for awards and recognition. Furthermore, those who subscribe to prevailing paradigms do not have to defend the theoretical foundations of their research; those who engage in heterodox theorizing must be prepared to defend their theories or analysis from a broader range of criticism since the paradigm they operate within is not accepted. Switching allegiance to a less accepted school of economic thought can come at considerable social, positional and financial cost (Mackie 1998, 112). 2.5  Economics education literature  To examine standard PoE courses in the context of university commitments to address sustainability, it is important to understand what the typical PoE course involves and how it is generally experienced by students. This topic is widely discussed in economics education literature, but despite widening my search to include UK and Australasian sources, I was unable to find recent research on how PoE lecturers view sustainability and the environmenteconomy connection in relation to PoE curriculum. There is a broad consensus that introductory economics courses are highly standardized across North American universities and rely heavily on textbooks (Boulding 1988; Colander 2000c, 2003). A small number of standard textbooks dominate this market, all of which can be considered descendents of Samuelson’s classic 1948 text (Stiglitz 1988; Skousen 1997; Gottesman et al. 2005; Sleeper 2007). Bestselling principles textbooks have consistently 38  avoided heterodox content (King and Millmow 2003; Knoedler and Underwood 2003), and textbooks written with a heterodox perspective lag far behind their mainstream equivalents in sales (Sleeper 2007). As a result, few undergraduate students encounter heterodox theory in mainstream economics programs (Skousen 1997; Knoedler and Underwood 2003). When competing schools of thought are discussed, they are often portrayed as unsatisfactory intellectual endeavours not worthy of further study, as theories with less explanatory power than mainstream theories, or as tainted by bias and ideology (Lee, 2004). Students show low levels of satisfaction with PoE, and other indicators suggest the courses have much scope for improvement. A considerable amount of literature from both inside and outside of the orthodox tent calls PoE curriculum and pedagogy into question (Becker 2000, 2004, 2007; Colander 2000c, 2003, 2005a; Laurenceson 2005; Round and Shanahan 2010). For instance, the emphasis on perfectly competitive markets found in introductory courses and textbooks has been criticized since few—if any—markets meet the required conditions (Hill and Myatt 2007). While most of this literature does not discuss how PoE courses attend to environment-economy linkages and sustainability, I go over some of the key findings and debates to provide broader context for this research project. Mainstream economics is sometimes faulted for relying on heroic assumptions (e.g., Friedman 1953), a methodological approach that may be losing support within the profession partly as a result of the debate sparked by economists’ failure to foresee the 2008 financial crisis (Colander et al. 2009; Hodgson 2009; Colander 2010; Kay 2011). The problem of heroic assumptions is particularly acute at the PoE level (Nelson 2009; Hill and Myatt 2010; Keen 2011b, Chapter 8). A number of scholars have suggested that PoE presents content that is foreign and alienating, such that students tend to retain little theoretical content. Textbooks have been criticized for content that is too hypothetical and for encouraging students to regurgitate content that involves “fairytale” situations (Becker 2000) or exercises useful for passing examinations but, in the view of some critics, little else (e.g., Boulding 1988; Northrop 2000). As Colander and Landreth (1996), write, “The simple textbook models students learn serve as an operating system for their minds. These models limit students’ imagination and consideration of alternatives…” (cited on p. 59 of Northrop 2000). Also 39  relevant to the present study is a growing recognition that PoE is alien to many students because it presents a worldview that is distant from student realities by largely excluding dilemmas of wealth distribution, inequality and ethics from course content, despite the fact that students are exposed to such issues on a daily basis (Saunders 2008). Standard PoE textbooks have been described as encyclopaedic and incoherent (Gottesman et al. 2005). They are critiqued for making so little use of concrete language that students are left “dancing on air” (Mason 1990) and including insufficient references to primary sources (Paxton 2007). Klamer (1990) suggests that understanding economics almost requires a foreign language class. Similarly, Richardson refers to PoE students going through “the shock of the textbook” and describes how they are repeatedly admonished by their instructors to read the textbook – yet his research found that many students are unable to read the text effectively, in part because they find the language inaccessible (Richardson 2004, 510). The teaching style that predominates the principles course has been described as “chalk and talk,” whereby students are passive recipients of the lecturer’s knowledge; inertia in this teaching method has been demonstrated by four different surveys of PoE lecturers conducted at intervals of five years (Becker and Watts 2001; Watts and Becker 2008; Watts and Schaur 2011). PoE textbooks and courses have also been criticized within the mainstream for avoiding controversy, for failing to raise the moral dilemmas associated with economic theory and policy, and for presenting economics as a largely settled body of theory (Moseley et al. 1991; Becker 2003, 2007; Colander 2003). Students appear to conclude that the best way to do well in PoE is to avoid using examples that raise controversial ethical issues that might call into question the appropriateness of relying on market mechanisms (Richardson 2004). Medema (2011) suggests that, perhaps as a result of the pressure to produce content that students find relevant, textbook authors sometimes massage economic theory to the point that it is invalid. Some researchers have sought to shed light on the extent to which PoE textbooks are imbued with normative values. A review of 21 one-term first year textbooks found biases were integrated into the texts (Shackelford 1991). Northrop (2000) reviewed 19 textbooks and 40  found that much of the normative content was hidden and that authors failed to acknowledge the utilitarian ethical system that is implicit in their texts and presented economic efficiency as unambiguously desirable. Authors used words such as “insatiable” or “unlimited” to suggest that there are no limits to human wants in 12 out of the 19 texts, but did not base such claims on empirical evidence or reference the literature in psychology that indicates that human needs are not in fact insatiable.17 To highlight the normative positions implicit in framing the economic problem as the need to make choices in a world where it is impossible to fulfill the material desires of every person, she writes: (  -  3  $  4$ -  % $ 5 -  % 6  *)#  Another scholar argues that textbooks wrongly imply that Adam Smith’s use of the invisible hand metaphor provides an endorsement of the benefits of unrestrained self-interest so long as it is channelled through self-regulating markets (Wight 2007). There has been debate over the extent to which PoE courses help students improve their understanding of the economy and of economic theory. In Australia, PoE increased students’ economic misconceptions and reduced their ability to reason like an economist (Tang and Robinson 2004). The standard instrument for testing student learning in American introductory economics courses is the Test of Understanding of College Economics, or TUCE (Walstad and Allgood 1999; Walstad and Rebeck 2008). A number of studies have found that students who take a PoE course show only modest improvements in their TUCE score (Salemi and Siegfried 1999; Hansen 2001; Hansen et al. 2002; Salemi 2005). Finally, it should be noted that the extent to which an improved TUCE score implies an improved ability to understand economic phenomena is itself open to question. Despite having improved their TUCE scores as a result of taking a PoE course, US students were found to  +  #  &  !& .  0 % % )%  B ( ), 63+- . &  !% %(  ) !%  !!  % % !  " 41  have dismal knowledge of basic economic facts (Wunder et al. 2009). Nelson and Sheffrin (1991) have criticized an older version of the sibling test to the TUCE, the Test of Economic Literacy, which was intended to measure student learning at the high-school level, concluding that it was ideological and hence measures teachers’ ability to achieve changes in students’ ideology rather then their understanding of economic phenomena.  A recent assessment on the state of the economics major in the context of a liberal education, known as the Teagle Foundation report,18 deemed it unfortunate that ‘big think’ questions— such as the appropriate structure of the economy or whether markets lead to alienation—are not put before students (Colander and McGoldrick 2009). Yet the economists invited to comment on the report showed limited interest in modifying curriculum to ensure students would have to grapple with such questions. For instance, one respondent to the report, a longtime contributor to the economics education field, countered the report’s concerns that students are not encountering ‘big think’ questions by arguing, “one simple reason that few students read Marx… is that there are better things to read. … So we leave out Marx to make room for Akerlof, Coase, Lucas and Prescott” (Salemi 2009, 102). In contrast, Marglin’s commentary on this same report complains that while economic programs focus on training students to think like an economist, they fail to foster critical thinking about thinking like an economist, in large part because within the profession, “thinking like an economist has facilitated the celebration of the market” (Marglin 2009, 49). 2.6  Economics textbooks, the environment and sustainability  A number of efforts to assess economics textbooks from an environmental and/or sustainability perspective are relevant to the present research project. To point out how textbooks fail to acknowledge the relationship between the economy and the environment, Daly (1991) searched the indexes of three macroeconomic textbooks, without success, for the terms: “natural resources,” “environment,” “depletion” and “pollution.” Folsom and Brauer  3  &  &  % 2 % ! % % ) . & & ! . AA ''. . . % %  % ( '%(  !  B% % 1 '& ! )%! A %  % !!  &%  %  & ( %  1% %  ( 42  (1998) undertook a relatively informal examination of PoE texts circa 1996 to 1998 for coverage of sustainable development. Over a decade after the Brundtland Commission report, they found that only two of ten texts directly addressed the issue. They conclude that: “Most authors continue to portray environmental issues as a negative constraint on the otherwise desirable goal of increased output” (Folsom and Brauer 1998, 5). Eriksson (2005) surveyed a number of environmental economics textbooks to examine their treatment of ethical issues. For each textbook he provides a summary of the overall gist of the textbook from a moral/ethical perspective. Eriksson evaluates the merits of the moral/ethical arguments and stances taken in the textbooks. He found that the environmental economics textbooks reviewed ranged from a having a fuzzy and inconsistent ethical basis to an explicit and systematic ethical basis. Some texts showed practically no interest in ethical questions. To assess how well contemporary textbook incorporate green issues, Reardon (2007) surveyed 17 US PoE texts by perusing each chapter for energy/environmental topics and searching the index for relevant entries. He focused on the quality of exposition rather than on tallying page numbers devoted to energy and environmental issues, arguing that "one energy/environmental issue presented from a contextually holistic green viewpoint is more cogent and efficacious than a dozen examples presented ad hoc and superficially" (Reardon 2007, 207). He concludes that contemporary texts ill prepare students to understand environment-economy linkages. The above efforts provide a valuable foundation for the present project, but each has limitations. Most rely on methodologies that are insufficiently thorough and many of the results are now dated. One component of the present project is intended to contribute to strengthening and updating this literature on how PoE textbooks address sustainability.  43  2.7  Impacts of economics education on students and society $ /  7 & 89  :  To determine the best means to assess the potential implications of universities’ sustainability commitments to the future of PoE courses, I searched a broad range of literature for studies that might help shed light on the effects of undergraduate economics training on students’ beliefs, attitudes and values and the ultimate influence of this training on society. 2.7.1  The performativity of economics  The notion that economic theories influence the social and material worlds has been around for some time. For instance, Polanyi’s (1944) work documents how beliefs in alleged laws of economics unleashed dramatic social change as public policy in market societies was aimed to achieve laissez-faire ideals. More recently, Callon (1998b), coming from the field of science studies and using Actor-Network Theory (ANT), has instigated a research program on the performativity of economics. In using the term performativity, his contention is that economics does not so much describe the world, but rather, “performs, shapes and formats the economy” (Callon 1998a, 2). In this view, economists generate theories and tools that then shape economic institutions and influence economic actors such that the world eventually more closely resembles these theories. For example, MacKenzie (2006) links the tremendous growth in the value of the derivatives market to options pricing theory developed by the economists Myron Scholes and Robert Merton (who were awarded the Nobel prize in economics) and their colleague Fischer Black. The performativity thesis is not without critics, in part because it sometimes fails to spell out the mechanisms by which economic ideas act on the world, because by denying macro structures like capitalism it is seen to uphold the status quo and because markets predate the economics discipline (Fine 2003). Critics have also complained that the performativity 44  scholarship has not paid sufficient attention to how competing parties can be involved in mobilizing or contesting economic theory. Since theories are contested and mobilized towards different ends by diverse actors, the match between theory and the real world may improve to a lesser extent than advocates of performativity have suggested. Mirowski and Nik-Khan (2007) accuse performativity scholars of forming an uncritical alliance with neoclassical economics, for ignoring the social order and for discarding previous scholarship in the social sciences. In part, concerns over the plausibility of the performativity thesis may be related to some confusion over the degree to which it is being claimed the economic theory reformats the world. Santos and Rodrigues (2009) identify two variants of the performativity thesis. The strong variant implies that by applying economic theory to the world, the world is shaped so that the theory becomes true. In the weaker variant, economics is actively engaged in shaping market society, but its influence while significant, does not result in changes that bring the world into alignment with the economic theories. Santos and Rodrigues propose to amend the research agenda initiated under the mantle of performativity to better focus attention on “identifying the mechanisms through which economics participates and shapes social life” and examining the “consequences of the attempts at making reality conform to economic theories” (Santos and Rodrigues 2009, 999). Ferraro et al. (2005, 2009) propose three key mechanisms to explain how economic theory can influence the world so that the gap between the world and theory is narrowed. First, an institution can be designed under the assumption that economic theory provides an accurate description of the world, with the result being that the institution reinforces behaviour that fits the model and dissuades behaviour that is inconsistent with it. Secondly, when people come to believe a theory – such as believing that humans act in their own self-interest – social norms can evolve to be more congruent with the theory. Individuals may then make reference to this evolved norm to conclude that they are expected to act in their own selfinterest. Finally, the language used in economics affects how people see the world, including what they notice and what they ignore, resulting in changes in decisions and behaviour.  45  A key contribution of Callon’s thesis in Mitchell’s (2005) view is that it shifts attention away from the deficiencies of neoclassical economics in representing actual economic activity. Instead, the performativity thesis helps highlight how economic theory serves the purposes of framing and disentangling economic activity, allowing some things to be included and others to be excluded from economic transactions in a way that delimits responsibility for the consequences of economic policies and outcomes. Thus, when promoted in the right circles, fairly simple economic ideas can have real impacts on people’s lives and wellbeing. Furthermore, the framing and disentangling that economic theorizing entails can facilitate the benign neglect of the environmental and equity consequences of economic policies. Though it does not draw upon an ANT framework or use the language of performativity, Marglin’s critique of mainstream economic theory also tackles economics’ role as an enabler that “build[s] a world based on markets” (Marglin 2008, ix). He focuses his critique on the theory’s foundational assumptions regarding nation states and self-interested, autonomous individuals who rationally optimize their consumption and have unlimited wants. There is no room for community in such a framework. Marglin suggests that these foundational assumptions are critical, yet are seldom probed, even by elite practitioners at the frontiers of the discipline who tend to be willing to question existing theory. He also argues that economists seek to construct a world that is consistent with their theory, stating that “Economics is not only descriptive; it is not only evaluative; it is at the same time constructive—economists seek to fashion a world in the image of economic theory” (Marglin 2008, 3). 2.7.2  The influence of PoE on society  Empirical evidence indicating how undergraduate economics curriculum affects economic beliefs, values and attitudes in society, and the extent to which PoE lecturers may be helping to perform the economy, is lacking. Accordingly, it makes sense to examine indirect evidence as to how PoE may be influencing society and economic outcomes. One source of indirect evidence is comments made by economists and other scholars about the social or policy impacts of PoE courses and textbooks. I examine a small number of such claims.  46  Samuelson explained that in writing and revising his seminal principles textbook, his priority was “…not so much in dollars as in influencing minds” (Cited in: Gottesman et al. 2005, 98). Samuelson was under continual pressure, both from the left and the right, to revise his text (Skousen 1997), presumably because those seeking to influence the content thought that Samuelson’s text would impact students’ minds, and ultimately the likelihood of success for given economic policies.  Joan Robinson, a long time critic of mainstream economics for the apologetic role she saw it playing, sought to challenge orthodox theory by writing a PoE textbook intended to displace the reigning mainstream texts like Samuelson’s. While other heterodox authors had attempted to do the same, Robinson was the first of Samuelson’s contemporaries to have such a high profile. However, her textbook was overly demanding of lecturers, and the level of difficulty was too great for first year students. Not surprisingly, it failed to capture market share and soon fell into disuse (King and Millmow 2003). A Marxist “anti-Samuelson” text also appeared on the market (Linder and Sensat 1977), but as it was heavily steeped in Marxist terminology it was incomprehensible to most freshmen. The key point here is that heterodox economists like Robinson and Linder have sought to change what is taught in PoE because of the perceived influence of the course. In his various writings, Galbraith makes frequent allusion to the influence of economics education on society’s economic beliefs. For instance, in The New Industrial State, Galbraith (2007, 208) writes, /;  <  % Likewise, in a recent book, Harvard economist Stephen Marglin, who offered a heterodox version of PoE at Harvard, offers several acerbic comments on how PoE promotes selfinterest. For instance, he contends that since Adam Smith, “…ordinary people have bought into the virtue of self-interest, though as I have indicated, Economics 101 helps to drive the lessons home” (Marglin 2008, 114). 47  Another way to approach the question of how PoE could be influencing societal decisions is to examine instances where economic theory has affected society’s reaction to serious social and economic problems. For example, in the early years of the Great Depression, economists’ belief in Say’s Law,19 which implies that insufficiency of aggregate demand and involuntary unemployment is impossible, seems to have hindered economists from reexamining conventional wisdom on how to respond to a collapse in demand, despite prevailing economic conditions that indicated the law was invalid. Belief in this law influenced public policy and government reactions to the crash of 1929, and thus slowed recovery from the economic crisis. Keynes’ General Theory (1936) eventually provided a theoretical basis for discarding Say’s Law by explaining involuntary unemployment and the idea that government intervention was needed to stimulate aggregate demand. The point here is that until it was discredited by the General Theory, Say’s Law was the type of economic theory that would have been taught to undergraduates during their economics training, thereby influencing the thinking of the educated class and prospects for public policy that was in apparent conflict with the theory. More recently, the 2008 economic crisis was blamed in part on the efficient market hypothesis, which effectively ruled out the possibility of such a crash (Cassidy 2009; Hodgson 2009). Many bankers, regulators and politicians engaged in shaping the rules that contributed to recent financial troubles would have encountered the efficient market hypothesis in contemporary textbooks.20 Of course, these two instances do not imply that whatever appears in the undergraduate economics curriculum acts to shape public policy, but they do suggest that some of the content included in the curriculum diffuses into public discourse and the policy-making realm and in this way may influence outcomes.  &) ! %!:! ) % ! ! . % !% & &) & ! ! ! A % ( # &% ! & % &) & ! !. %! % ! &% ! ! % % % !% % % % %!! !% . %)! % 6  2  ; % < 4 & 3& 1% () 2 % 9!! % ( )% % %( % % !, %!! ) 6 46I* -  ! % 2% % ( )"  48  The leading standard PoE textbooks and courses tend to cover the key policies that facilitate markets and business activity (Goodwin 2004; Marglin 2009; Stanford 2011). By and large, higher-level courses cover few economic policies that have not been described at least at the outline level in PoE. The reason for this is that to a considerable degree, when it comes to discussing economic policies, higher-level courses involve the same material covered in PoE, though elaborated in more formal terms (Goodwin 2008). Thus, the views of even professional economists are likely partially shaped by what they first encountered in PoE. In his analysis of how economic theory is canonized, Mackie (1998) highlights the discipline’s heavy reliance on textbooks early in the training process and refers to the role they play in initiating potential economists. Textbooks are “obligatory passage points” (Latour 1987, 159) into a discipline, and they are intended to represent the distilled wisdom of the profession. Kreplin (1979), a critic coming from a Marxist tradition, argues that there was a deliberate effort to incorporate mainstream economic theory into the US public school curriculum as a means to legitimate American forms of capitalism, to normalize existing class relations and to quiet growing discontent with the status quo. He examined the work of the Joint Council on Economics Education, which was ostensibly founded to reduce economic illiteracy by promoting economics instruction in public school and college curriculum. He documents that the council’s leadership was made up of educators and corporate executives, and that it collaborated with the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association. Reviewing various documents produced by the council, he shows that in the recommended curriculum, society’s interests are presumed to be best served by a growing market economy. The American economic system is portrayed as democratic and tied to natural laws; the curriculum avoids drawing attention to whether the system is fair. Kreplin’s position is congruent with Apple’s, who agrees that economic theory that might be unsettling to the captains of commerce is unlikely to find its way into curriculum (Apple 2004, 7). However, in contrast to Kreplin’s findings, it is intriguing that in the UK context there was little support for the notion that students should encounter economics before attending university (Jephcote and Davies 2007). An explanation of why the private sector in the UK did not see the need to  49  push economics at the public school level as a means to sell the benefits of prevailing economic arrangements would be useful. Based on the importance participants in mainstream economics ascribe to undergraduate economics courses, and the importance critics of orthodoxy place on reforming or replacing such courses, it is clear that many commentators perceive the PoE curriculum as having a substantial influence on the decisions that are made by society. 2.7.3  Effects of studying economics on student values  Relevant to an evaluation of how the principles course might be modified as part of integrating sustainability across the curriculum is an important but unresolved literature that suggests that, largely through emphasizing that self-interest is the motivating force behind homo economicus’ decisions, training in economics may be undermining students’ willingness to contribute to public goods (Marwell and Ames 1981) as well as the importance they place on cooperation (Frank et al. 1993). The finding that economics undermines cooperative behaviour has been challenged (e.g., Yezer et al. 1996) and the challenge countered (Frank et al. 1996). Using an ultimatum game,21 Stanley and Tran (1998) found that at a small liberal arts university, students with economics training tended to split $10 fairly (contra the prediction of orthodox theory), and indeed were more generous than their peers who were untrained in economics. However, using a dictator game22 and an exercise in which students were asked to contribute personal vignettes related to greed and to react to quotes from famous economists, Wang et al (2011) found that the more economics training students had, the less fair their offers became and the more positive their attitudes were towards greed.  ) % ! & % % !. % % ! & ! ! & ! & .% % ! . ( 7 & ! ! % ! & !% % ( & % % ! & % % J . & ! ! F !& % % & !% ) & & A& ) & ! % % !& & % %. %) &% %A = ! & . % !%)K6 66'K . &% . ( % % & ! % % . %) ! ! 7 & % % & ! % % !& . %! . ( % % & ! &%! !%) & % $ !( ! !% & % % ) 50  There are instances where a single course in economics has been shown to result in substantial changes in student beliefs. Whaples (1995) explored whether an introductory economics course could affect students’ assessments of whether market outcomes were fair,23 and concluded that the course had a “profound influence” on student attitudes. A Canadian study that compared the performance of undergraduate and graduate economics students to nursing students in a game involving the provision of public goods showed that economics students were markedly less cooperative than nursing students (Cadsby and Maynes 1998). However, it is not clear whether a selection effect, a socialization effect or a learning effect explains the observed differences. In contrast, Laband and Beil (1999) found that professional economists were more honest than political scientists and sociologists about paying their association dues. Other researchers have suggested that if economists are more selfish, it is through self-selection rather than through indoctrination (Frank and Schulze 2000). Using a natural experiment, namely students’ contributions to social funds, economics students did not become more selfish with additional economics training; instead, their more selfish behaviour was explained as a selection effect (Frey and Meier 2005).  Rubenstein (2006) found that students who studied economics were more likely than their non-economics peers to recommend that a hypothetical manager maximize the firm’s profits in a situation where the social impacts of such a decision, namely unemployment for laid-off workers, are ethically troubling.24 When the question was posed to students in a mathematical form commonly used in economics texts, they did not seem to appreciate that an ethical dilemma was involved or that conflicting interests were in the balance. Rubinstein believes these findings show that the use of mathematical exercises in economics education “contribute[s] to the shaping of a rather unpleasant ‘economic man’” (Rubinstein 2006, C9).  4  . & !% ! !%) ! % !  C ! !. : %& %) . & & !% % % . ! & 7! % . ! ! %! & ! & !L4 1& & & %! ! . ! & %!& % . !L; !M !( % % % ! & ! !. & % % . ! ()> H 9!! ) % % ( . ! ( %! % ' % %! % . %! !  *  ( ! ' !  51  Issues of distributive justice and perceptions of fairness were explored with a sample of first and fourth year students (Faravelli 2007). The author found a selection effect: sociology students were more concerned about fairness than their economics counterparts. At the same time, when contextual information on minimum survival needs was introduced, economics students were found to be concerned about fairness. Based on these results, Faravelli contends that there is a learning effect for economics students, but not for sociology students.  Using, amongst other measures, the same dilemma between profits and layoffs as used by Rubinstein (2006), a recent study by Cipriani, Lubian and Zagoof (2009) of a large sample of undergraduates from a variety of disciplines found both a selection effect (students who have chosen to major in economics are deemed “natural born economists”) and a treatment effect (microeconomics encourages an emphasis on efficiency in value judgments). Yet there were no significant differences in how first and third year economics students resolved trade-offs involving social consequences (e.g., profitability vs. employment). Though the authors do not find evidence supporting the view that economics education has the “unpleasant consequences outlined by Rubinstein, i.e., the creation of a selfish economic man,” (Cipriani et al. 2009, 467), they call for further research to assess the extent to which indoctrination25 is occurring. Evidence as to whether undergraduate economics training fosters changes in political attitudes is also limited and mostly dated. Harvard University’s Gregory Mankiw, a leading PoE textbook author and well-known conservative, puts forward three reasons that might explain how economics training leads to more conservative attitudes: $  = ( >  $ %  &) &) <  !% %  % (  %  %% % A% %  % (  %! ( !% %  !%! % & . &  %!  52  %$ %= 8 !  &  3  =  ?@  A#  Most effects detected of PoE on student political values were fairly weak (Scott and Rothman 1975; Riddle 1978). One study that measured shifts in attitude following a one semester survey course in economics found that students became more conservative (stronger support for private vs. public ownership, preference for market allocation) and suggested that the textbooks themselves should be considered a source of influence (Jackstadt et al. 1985). A study that examined whether PoE affects student attitudes toward government intervention unexpectedly found that exposure to an introductory microeconomics course made students more interventionist, while students taking sociology and political science courses became less interventionist. The authors suggest that much of the observed shift in students’ beliefs as a result of the economics course can be explained by the fact that individual instructors placed considerable emphasis on market failures and imperfect competition26 (Cobb and Luker 1993). Asked to consider how they would amend the Finnish government’s budget, economics students allocated the highest spending to law and order and technology and cut the most deeply on social programs – such as childcare, health, unemployment insurance and international cooperation – when compared to their peers in other departments (Venetoklis 2007). A recent study found that economics programs tend to attract male students who are more conservative than the average male university student; for female economics students no pattern in political orientation was discerned (Bartlett et al. 2009). A recent study examined whether changes in students’ opinions on economic issues after an introductory economics course were related to the political orientation of their instructor (Magee 2009). Magee’s analysis found that the effect of other students’ opinions was greater  >  7  &%! = % ! &% %)&% !  % %  !% )  % %  %! & !  !  !.  %  & 53  than that of their professors’ opinion (one professor had the equivalent influence of six fellow students). Furthermore, it showed that students self-selected into sections with professors whose views were congenial to their own. However, a limitation of this study is that different textbooks were used in different sections, and the author did not account for the influence of the textbooks’ political orientation.27 The divergent results in the literature reviewed above show that further research is needed before more definitive conclusions can be reached about how undergraduate economics courses influence student values and political beliefs. However, there are indications that in some instances economics training influences student beliefs and values in a manner that may be eroding the values and beliefs that advocates of sustainability in higher education contend universities should be supporting. 2.7.4  Effects of studying economics on environmental attitudes and values  I now turn more specifically to the limited evidence available on how economics training, particularly at the PoE level, influences student attitudes and values when it comes to the environment. Smith (1995) analyzed data from the General National Opinion Research Center's (NORC) General Social Survey, conducted in the US in 1993, which allowed him to examine how educational background influenced participation in activities that improve environmental outcomes. He found that “…majoring in economics or business is a negative influence on willingness to donate [to environmental groups] and recycle” (p. 602). A BCbased study examined how a student’s major relates to scores on a modified New Ecological Paradigm28 scale (Ewert and Baker 2001). The study did not include economics majors, but did include students in business administration, whom one would expect to have been exposed to economic theories. It found that both business administration and forestry majors reported lower pro-environment scores than did majors in other disciplines.  % & ! % % # ( 4 6 & # . % %% ! % . %! %) %% !% % % ! %! & % ( . +  !  !  3  %  %C ) & % & 6+3 %! & # . % ! ! 7 ! ! !!  &  54  The above research is intriguing, yet there is too little of it to come to any clear conclusions as to how PoE courses may be influencing students’ environmental values and beliefs. 2.8  Chapter conclusions: implications for this research project  This chapter provides support for my research questions as set out in Chapter 1, the theoretical framework in Chapter 3, the methods as detailed in Chapter 3, and supports the approach and interpretation in subsequent chapters. By reviewing the sustainability in higher education literature, I documented an emerging consensus that from a learning perspective, sustainability should be integrated across the curriculum, rather than by addressing sustainability in separate modules. This implies that universities’ sustainability commitments may require re-examination of the PoE curriculum. A deficiency in the sustainability literature in higher education is that there is limited inquiry into ways in which addressing sustainability may call into question the theory that is being taught within a discipline and require that this theory be revisited. This is especially so in the case of economics. This dissertation helps address this lacuna. I then turned to the literatures more directly related to PoE, addressing the sociology of the economics discipline, socialization within economics, theory choice in economics and economics education. These literatures document how heterodox theories have been suppressed in favour of the mainstream and how they are considered to have little value. Furthermore, this literature provides a basis for understanding how economics has come to downplay attention to the environment. Literature that sheds light on how mainstream economic theory is produced and evolves was reviewed to better understand how PoE took its present form. Unfortunately, to date the economics education literature has paid little attention to the relevance of environment-economy linkages and sustainability to the POE curriculum. However, there is a broad consensus that in North America, PoE courses are highly standardized. The courses are often seen to be unsatisfactory both by mainstream contributors to the economics education literature and by many of the students who take the 55  course. Students are widely acknowledged to find the course alienating and to retain little of the economic theory they are taught, and to show little improvement in their understanding of the economy. This literature also documents how undergraduate economics courses avoid engaging with ethical issues. Furthermore, biases and hidden normative content have been found to be integrated into PoE textbooks. Big think questions—such as the appropriate structure the economy or whether markets results in alienation—are not covered in the PoE classroom. Several literatures were considered to evaluate the extent to which PoE courses may influence student beliefs, values and political views and to ultimately influence public policy and hence prospects for sustainability, yet these literatures were inconclusive. First, various critics of orthodoxy have sought to change what is taught in mainstream economics courses, presumably in part due to a belief such changes could affect social policy over the long term. Second, the performativity of economics literature suggests that economic theory can reformat the world that it theorizes about. In other words, the theory does not merely describe the world, but also acts upon it. Third, an area of research that considers how economics education shapes student values was reviewed, with some researchers detecting important effect, while others contest such findings, suggesting more research is needed. This of course is of interest because it points out the importance of understanding how PoE influences student beliefs and values and ultimately the type of decisions and actions they will take upon graduation that may have sustainability implications. Synthesizing the theory and findings reviewed in this chapter has led to the following provisional findings that have informed my research design and methods. There is a sound rationale for studying the PoE course, since best practice in meeting universities' sustainability commitments suggest that sustainability should be integrated across the curriculum. There are reasons to believe that the PoE course influences society’s understanding of what is economically possible, what is desirable and what policies are sound. Furthermore, the available evidence indicates that PoE courses have tended to draw on simplistic conceptualization of environment-economy linkages and pay little attention to 56  the issue of sustainability. Yet this research is insufficiently thorough and would benefit from updating. In the next chapter, I set out the theoretical framework that provides the structure underpinning and informing the analysis in this dissertation.  57  Chapter 3: Theoretical framework 3.1  Chapter overview  Shifting from the literature review in the previous chapter, this chapter provides a theoretical foundation for my research questions and methods, and a lens for interpreting the results. In a recent book oriented towards explaining how conceptual frameworks support the research process, Ravitch and Riggan (2011) distinguish between conceptual frameworks and theoretical frameworks: = 5  5  !! B#  They refer to a theoretical framework, a component of the conceptual framework, as: % 5  5  !! !2B# In Chapter 1 I set forth my conceptual framework, laying out my argument for why studying how sustainability commitments play out in PoE curriculum is relevant and important. As a component of the conceptual framework, my theoretical framework has to serve several purposes. In order to assemble the theory, concepts and tools I require to analyze how economics, as it is presented in PoE, conceptualizes environment-economy linkages and the challenges involved in achieving sustainability for industrial market economies, I turn to the ecological economics literature. Ecological economics is focused on improving human understanding of the interdependence of human societies and natural ecosystems; it begins from the perspective that the economy is as subset of the biosphere, a perspective that calls into question the feasibility and desirability of ongoing growth in economic output. To address weaknesses in ecological economics theorizing, I take into consideration key interventions made in the ecological economics literature by scholars working from political economy, institutional economics and feminist economics perspectives. 58  I also seek to construct a framework that will enable me to investigate the role of undergraduate curriculum and to see how a discipline, departments and lecturers decide upon the corpus of ideas and theories that should be taught—as well as what can be omitted—and how the resulting corpus should be represented. Furthermore, this framework should help assess how the economics discipline positions PoE within the academy, privileging mainstream economics as a field of knowledge that students from diverse disciplines are expected to have an elementary knowledge of and competence in. I focus more specifically on how academic departments and disciplines have been theorized to better understand how academics are socialized into a discipline, how influence is wielded and the ways in which a discipline responds to the knowledge and interests of other disciplines. I also canvass four competing schools of thought—initiated by Bernstein, Bourdieu, Archer and Latour—that have influenced the sociology of higher education literature. These literatures offer competing perspectives on the degree to which the work of academics is shaped by existing structures and habitual patterns versus being open to reflexive agential action. They also differ in the degree of emphasis that they give to the role of ideas and nonhuman actors, such as textbooks, in influencing social outcomes and the structure of the economy. I pay particular attention to insights that could help evaluate scope for innovation in curriculum. 3.2  The ecological economics critique of mainstream economics  Ecological economics is a young and rapidly evolving transdisciplinary field focused on improving human understanding of the interdependence and coevolution of human societies and natural ecosystems, motivated by concern that the growing scale of economic activity is undermining ecological life support systems (Costanza et al. 1991). What follows below is based on my reading of tendencies within the discipline, informed in part by my own engagement with the field since 1995.29 Readers should keep in mind that there is a diversity  7. %!% % % % /1  6  ( % %  & 7  %% % 1 % %  ) %  % !  ! % &% % ! 7&% % !  % ( 59  of thought in the following descriptions of positions, methodologies or theoretical commitments. The diversity arises partly because of the discipline’s commitment to methodological pluralism as well as from its inherent multidisciplinarity (Norgaard 1989; van den Bergh 2001). Given the breadth of subject matter addressed by ecological economists and the burgeoning literature, I highlight aspects of ecological economics and findings from the literature that are particularly relevant to providing a framework for examining and critiquing PoE and for considering how, under best practices, universities’ sustainability commitments might inform PoE curriculum. I also incorporate in this review some heterodox economic literature, mainly from feminist and institutional economics, on the basis that the literature in question is complementary to, and has had some influence on, the ecological economics approach and helps shore up some areas where ecological economic scholarship has so far been limited. It should also be kept in mind that ecological economics does not reject mainstream theory in toto; some methods are adapted, and some of the policy approaches promoted by ecological economists, such as carbon taxes, are also promoted in the mainstream environmental economics literature. Ecological economics calls into question the worldview, approach and assumptions of mainstream economics and the appropriateness of many of the economic policies that have been supported by mainstream theorizing and analysis, such as those that favour free trade (Daly and Cobb 1994, 209–235; Ekins et al. 1994; Andersson and Lindroth 2001). In contrast to the mainstream’s longstanding endorsement of economic growth (Nelson 1991, 2001),30 ecological economists reject growth in GDP as a macroeconomic policy objective (Boulding 1966; Daly 1998; van den Bergh 2011). Instead, ecological economists promote alternative economic indicators (Victor 1991; Daly and Cobb 1994, 443–507; Lawn 2003) and focus on redesigning the economy so that it supports human wellbeing within suitable ecological constraints (Victor 2008; Jackson 2009a), a vision promoted by Daly under the label of a  &  %  ,  +( %!% %( . & & % % % % & ! !! % %) % % !)! ! ! . % & ! ( . % & 4 &! ! &%!( ! . &% &! % ) ! & %! 5 & 1 % 9! ! %!! !! !  E  ) . ! ) & = &%! !,! ( . - 7% & !! % ! !% 7! %)% ), 1 = % 6-% & ! % )! % ,$% ) 66 % *60  steady state economy (Daly 1992a). More recently, some ecological economists have come to advocate for economic degrowth, wherein rich countries deliberately shrink per capita consumption, creating ecological space for a modest increase of per capita consumption in poor countries such that total human demands fit within the planet’s limited biocapacity (Rijnhout and Schauer 2009; Schneider et al. 2010; Kallis 2011). Based on a survey instrument where respondents were asked to agree or disagree with statements related to sustainability, Illge and Schwarze (2009) reported that ecological economists exhibit commitments to social justice, improving human prospects and ensuring the long-term viability of ecosystems and natural processes. In the ecological economics literature, public deliberation about the end goals of economic activity is promoted (Daly 1992a, 18–20, 2009) as is greater scrutiny regarding the philosophical foundations underlying economics theorizing and analysis (O’Neill and Spash 2000; O’Neill 2007; Spash 2008; Norgaard 2009). Like Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal (1990), social science research and education is described by ecological economists as being inherently imbued with values. Accordingly, discussions about underlying values are common in ecological economics literature (Spash and Ryan 2010; Daly 2009). In the public policy arena, where many decisions must be made in a context of uncertainty, ecological economists depict values as contested (Costanza and Wainger 1992; Funtowicz and Ravetz 1994; Common and Stagl 2005). Accordingly, they promote multi-criterion approaches to economic analysis of policy options (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1994; Illge and Schwarze 2009). Ecological economists seek to ensure economic theorizing incorporates a more realistic specification of the economy’s material and energy stocks and flows so as to be consistent with the first and second laws of thermodynamics (Georgescu-Roegen 1971, 1986; Daly 1992a; Ayres 2007). Thus, in response to the mainstream emphasis on capital and labour, ecological economists stress the contribution of natural capital in enabling economic activity (Victor 1991; Jansson 1994; Green 2000; Vemuri and Costanza 2006). Systems theory has also had great influence on theorizing and analysis (e.g., Meadows et al. 1972) such that ecological economists draw attention to differing hierarchies within systems and the way that systems go through phases of growth, conservation, release and reorganization. Within 61  ecological economics, sustainability is often interpreted through a resilience lens (Trosper 2009, 154–157), whereby it is understood as the maintenance of a system’s adaptive capacity over time in the presence of shocks, such that the system’s functions and structure are retained. In this formulation, it is also recognized that subcomponents of a system will go through release and renewal (Holling 1973, 2001; Gunderson and Holling 2002). Following Spash’s (2011) classification, ecological economics can be roughly categorized into two main schools of thought: North American and European. The North American variant of ecological economics was born out of a collaboration between ecologists and mainstream economists, and was thus more desirous of recognition by the mainstream profession and more willing to draw upon and adapt neoclassical methods with limited scrutiny of their underlying assumptions (Spash 1999, 2011; Røpke 2004). This stream of scholarship places considerable emphasis on the valuation of ecosystem services in monetary terms as a means of ensuring decision makers take into account nature’s contribution to human wellbeing (e.g., Costanza et al. 1997). However, ecological economists aligned with the European school are sceptical as to whether the output of such exercises is meaningful, pointing, for instance, to the problem of incommensurable values. They also question the desirability of making public policy decisions on the basis of aggregating individual preferences expressed in market-like settings with the distribution of wealth taken as given (O’Neill 2007; Spash 2008; Norgaard 2010; Krall and Klitgaard 2011). The variant of ecological economics that dominates in Europe, sometimes termed socioecological economics (Jacobs 1996; Spash 1999, 2011), has a greater tendency to incorporate a political economy perspective and is thus more attentive to institutions and power. This school is less amenable to retrofitting neoclassical techniques and is less optimistic than its North American counterpart that if suitable ecological constraints and price adjustments are implemented, the market mechanism can be relied upon to deliver desired social outcomes (Røpke 2004, 2005; Spash 2011). Ecological economists characterize movement towards sustainability as being impeded in part by an economic worldview that is focused on growth in economic output and per capita 62  consumption and has downplayed the linkages between economic activity and the state of the environment (Boulding 1966; Georgescu-Roegen 1971; Daly 1992a, 2008; Arrow et al. 1995; Rees 2002; Illge and Schwarze 2009)31. Accordingly, to mainstream economics’ traditional preoccupation with allocation and to a lesser extent distribution, ecological economists add the issue of scale, which is to say the relative size of the economy in biophysical terms relative to the encompassing biosphere (Daly 1991, 1992a, 1992b; Victor 2009). They often reverse the order in which these objectives are satisfied. Thus, Daly (1992a, 50–76) argues that society’s first priority should be achieving an appropriate scale for the economy, and that second in importance is ensuring an equitable distribution, with efficiency in allocation being a desirable objective only once the two higher-level conditions have been satisfied. Various ways to define the appropriate scale of the global economy (e.g., Rockstrom et al. 2009) and to ensure economic activity stays within these boundaries have been proposed, an underlying assumption being that constraints on the scale of human activity need to be put in place by drawing on findings from the environmental sciences. Since, in a ‘full world,’ growth in the overall scale of the economy is no longer an option that can be used to improve the plight of the poor, ecological economists promote redistribution as a means to reduce inequality, to improve wellbeing and to enhance prospects for sustainability (Daly 1992b, 53–58; Ruitenbeek 1996). Ecological economists contend that mainstream economic theorizing and analysis has greatly underestimated the importance of energy and natural resources in enabling economic activity. For instance, while growth in standard theory is unrelated to energy use, Ayres (2008a) has documented how economic growth since the industrial revolution has been largely enabled by humankind’s ability to harness fossil fuels. Accordingly, they have worked to develop economic models that are consistent with the first and second laws of thermodynamics, in part by seeking to account for material and exergy flows in economic models (GeorgescuRoegen 1971; Ayres and van den Bergh 2005; Warr and Ayres 2006; Ayres 2008a; Victor 2009).  4  1 &%( !% ! &% !! % & >-  & = %(  % &  %! )  )  &  & ()5 & 1 % % ! % %. ,1 &%(%! 66<  %  63  One area where ecological economics has been critical of the mainstream approach to the environment is how environmental problems are largely conceptualized as externalities, wherein two parties to a transaction fail to account for costs imposed on third parties. Ecological economists argue that most every economic process involves some form of material transformation and loss of exergy.32 They draw attention to throughput, the flow of materials and energy from the environment, which are utilized in the economy and eventually emitted into the environment as waste and dissipated energy. Impacts on the environment are thus inherent in economic activity. Since the mainstream model does not account for the biophysical attributes of the system it depends upon, externalities seem to be appended to it as an afterthought. However, for ecological economists externalities are pervasive such that the concept is of limited usefulness as a tool of analysis and as a guide to action (GeorgescuRoegen 1971; Daly 1992a; Røpke 2010). Kapp’s (1950) notion of social costs is sometimes offered as an alternative.33 While theorizing the human actor in ecological economics is still a work in progress, ecological economists are critical of continued reliance on homo economicus, the rational, utility-maximizing, atomistic and selfish individual that still populates many economic models (Kahneman 2003) and most PoE textbooks. Ecological economists have drawn upon behavioural economics literature (see summary in Mullainathan and Thaler 2000), experimental economics (Gintis 2000; Henrich et al. 2001), evolutionary psychology (Jackson 2002) and neuroscience (Camerer et al. 2005) to better understand the human actor and to explore how collective action dilemmas might be overcome. The result is a more nuanced understanding of human motivations that recognizes that individuals are part of a larger social matrix wherein they seek to maintain a desired status level, and that an  )% & ) % ! % & )( ! %! & )% % %( % ) 1 & ! %. & ) % !! % ! &% )! & % ! ) ! ! )( ! & !!%! ! % % ,& & !! ! ! ) ( % % % %( % !!% % %( -D A )( ! % ! &! ( % ! ! 44 2 ?% % ( !% %! % % ! % % ( %! % ! ! &% ( !&% ! %! ! % ! 9!%( ) &% !()!& !! . ! & ( % & 4  A  .  64  individual’s decisions are only partly rational, in part due to weakness of will (Camerer et al. 2005) and in part due to the influence of the behaviour of peers (Vatn 2004). While humans can be self-interested, they can also be altruistic. Human wellbeing is understood to be affected by the state of nature, and people care, to varying degrees, for the non-human world (Dodds 1997; Siebenhüner 2000; Jackson et al. 2004; Becker 2006; Costanza et al. 2007; Ingebrigtsen and Jakobsen 2009). The insatiability assumption of mainstream economics is rejected in ecological economics; the apparent endless desire to consume in contemporary society is seen in large part as the end result of giving commercial interests free reign to create and stoke needs through marketing (Galbraith 1998, 2007). Accordingly, rather than seeing the satisfaction of preferences as innately good, ecological economists see many instances where satisfying individual preferences does little to support individual and collective wellbeing, and can even erode it (Jackson et al. 2004; Mick et al. 2004). As a result, the notion of, and emphasis on, consumer sovereignty in many economics textbooks is found to be suspect. Government circumscription of consumer choice will likely be needed to foster human and ecosystem wellbeing over the long term (Menzel and Green Forthcoming). There is also an emerging stream of feminist ecological economics scholarship (Nelson 1997; Perkins 2002, 2007; Perkins and Kuiper 2005; Perkins et al. 2005) that helps draw attention to issues such as the unpaid work and caring labour, largely undertaken by women, that underwrites the economy. Alternative modalities of analysis, such as understanding economic activity through time use studies and other forms of non-monetary valuation are seen to offer a broader basis for understanding the economy and the implications of economic policy. Beyond the traditional focus in ecological economics on the ecological foundations of the economy and material and energy flows, feminist contributors draw attention to social reproduction. The “model of man” used in economics has been much criticized by feminist economists (Ferber and Nelson 2003). This conception of humans fails to account for the fact that individuals are social beings who are born into families and communities, and who are 65  dependent on others in childhood and at the end of life. Furthermore, while outside of the home economics assumes that competitive arrangements prevail, within the home it is assumed that all behave altruistically and that there is a harmony of interests despite plenty of evidence that in many households, there is conflict over the distribution of work and resources. As a result, the disproportionate impact of certain economic policies, such as structural adjustment, on women and children is often missed, while differences in outcomes by race, gender and ethnicity are downplayed or omitted and limits to people’s ability to adjust to economic dislocation are neglected. Traditional forms of economic development are seen to have failed the world’s poor and to have failed women. Feminist economists are actively engaged in setting out alternative visions of economic development that are sustainable, equitable, democratic and inclusive (Waring 1988; Beneria 1995, 2003). Robbins’(1935, 16) repackaging of economics as the science of human choice – the allocation of scarce means that have alternative uses amongst competing ends – was intended to boost economics’ status as a science by ridding the discipline of normative judgments34 (Bromley 1990). Feminist economists have been particularly critical of the economics profession’s restriction of its domain to the science of choice (Nelson 1993). As Beneria (2003, 163) writes, “Feminist economists also have emphasized that an excessive emphasis on the study of choice has led to the neglect of the study of provisioning, human welfare, and human development.” Thus, some feminist ecological economists have proposed redefining economics as being concerned with economic provisioning, or “how societies organize themselves to sustain life and enhance its quality” (Nelson 2009, 61). Ecological economists have also been critical of how mainstream economics takes as givens the context, institutions and historical conditions that set up choice situations (Polanyi 1944; Bromley 2006; O’Neill 2007; Ostrom 2008). For instance, industrial production and economic development often entail processes whereby the commons are enclosed, ecological  & % ( &% () ! & !! % . &% !. ( !% ! .& & !. ( % (( !9 % (F ! . %! & ! %! % ) ( % () & !! , 643- ( ! . &% % = %!% ! ! % )() & ! & ! & & , . ! 636 D % 663-  % !%  4*  . !  C ! !%( % !! & %!1% ! % &! % !  !  66  resources are exploited for private gain and the public is left with the consequences. The end result can be uneven development, with some regions surrendering their natural endowment and retaining little of the proceeds, instead being left with the legacy of a degraded environment while a distant elite benefits from the proceeds it has siphoned off (MartinezAlier 1991, 2002; Monbiot 1994; Norgaard 1994; Rist 2003). Also, mainstream theorists have pointed to the ways private property arrangements can create incentives for owners to sustain resources over time, but have tended to neglect or downplay the ways private property can create incentives to accelerate ecological deterioration (Clark 1973, 1976; Bromley 1991) and sever linkages between people and the ecosystems that they have traditionally depended upon (Freyfogle 2003; Haddad 2003). Mainstream scholarship has also given limited attention to instances where common-pool resources have been successfully managed through collective means (O’Neill 2007; Marglin 2008; Ostrom 2008).35 Certain strands of institutional economics, and especially the work of Karl Polanyi (1944), Karl William Kapp (1950, 1970), John Kenneth Galbraith (1998, 2007) and Gunnar Myrdal (1990), have had an important influence on the development of ecological economics. Accordingly, rather than seeing markets as spontaneous natural phenomena, they are understood to be created by human actors working collectively and individually to shape institutions and rules, and act to bot