Most of the basic societal institutions which had been established during the post-war period within the early industrialized affluent societies rely for their proper functioning on economic growth. Current environmental challenges – as for example the concept of planetary boundaries makes them apparent – might require that these institutions become independent from economic growth. However, traditional environmental measures and instruments have not addressed them so far.
In order to understand how to transform basic societal institutions such that they become independent from economic growth it is necessary to understand what the drivers of economic growth consist in. The latter question has recently been controversially debated within two discourses. There is on the one hand the degrowth discourse that is mainly led by stakeholders from the civil society and academics beyond the mainstream. On the other hand, this question is tackled within a discourse about secular stagnation in which mainly mainstream economists participate.
Our talk will provide – based on a comprehensive literature review – a systematic overview of the driving forces of growth discussed within the both discourses and it will outline their controversies. Furthermore, we will present the results of an extended literature analysis. This will focus on selected drivers – presumably those that are controversially discussed – and review empirical evidence for or against their existence.
This analysis is a first step in our attempt to understand which present basic institutions are dependent on economic growth. In an outlook we shall present hypotheses with regard to this overall goal.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Drivers of Economic Growth“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.