The Role of Land in Economic Theory

Hubacek K & van den Bergh JCJM (2002). The Role of Land in Economic Theory. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-02-037

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Abstract

Changes in land use and land cover are among the issues central to the study of global environmental change. In addition to their cumulative long-term global dimensions, such changes can have profound regional environmental implications during the life span of current generations. A better understanding of the dynamics in land and water use is thus critical for an informed debate of sustainability.

Land use represents a critical intersection of economic and ecological systems. Land-use changes are most often directly linked with economic decisions. This recognition has led LUC to choose an economic framework as the organizing principle, resulting in a broad set of project activities geared towards providing a biophysical and geographical underpinning to the representation of land-based economic sectors in modeling land and water use decisions.

This report addresses foremost researchers outside economics and should be viewed as a modest step towards reducing the deficit in transdisciplinary research, which, until now, has permitted only modest advances in closing the gaps between environment and economic analysis.

The role of land in economic theory is surveyed, both from a conceptual and historical perspective. Land has been incorporated in economic theories in various ways. Originally, land used by agriculture was the main motivation for an economic treatment of land. This was gradually extended with various other land use categories. Neoclassical core economic theory gave less attention to land use, generally regarding it as a production factor of relatively little importance. Nevertheless specialized sub-fields within economics such as regional and urban economics met the demand for explicit spatial analysis including land use considerations. More recently, attention for environmental and resource problems has provided incentives for new perspectives on, and conceptualization of, land in economic analysis. To some extent, this is based on an interaction with other disciplines as well as on the use of spatially disaggregate methods of analysis.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes (LUC)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:14
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2016 20:30
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/6748

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