Monetary valuation of the environment is increasingly embedded in policy. Despite broad claims that valuation is policy-relevant, there is widespread frustration that it has not widely improved environmental outcomes, that it obscures many other types of values, and presents unintended consequences. We argue that this is, in part, because of a tendency to overlook the mechanics of how valuation tools and data are embedded into the institutions (regulations, norms, rules, schemes) that mediate decision-making.
The institutional change induced by payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes is a ‘messy’ process. The uptake and outcomes of PES schemes cannot be fully explained from a rational choice perspective. The notion of ‘institutional bricolage’ is needed to analyse how actors assemble or reshape their actions by combining new institutions such as a PES scheme within other locally embedded institutions.
• In this lecture, I will examine my own role, as a researcher, in advancing a progressive agenda that responds to an urgent climate change challenge. I will explore the tensions between experimental forms of action-research, policy-oriented research, and curiosity-led research and the way in which these different forms of thinking have shaped my research agenda as I have attempted to respond to what I believe is the most important challenge of our times: enabling life in a climate changed future.”
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