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Abstract: The environmental sustainability of economic growth has been subject to much debate for many decades. Recently, two alternatives to the growth paradigm have been put forward: namely, “a-growth” and “degrowth.” The first proposes to ignore GDP information and focus instead on sound environmental, social, and economic policies independently of their effects on economic growth. The second recommends a downscaling of the economy so as to make it consistent with biophysical boundaries. We compare these approaches in the context of the growth paradigm and examine whether they have any merit. We further consider the potential contribution of institutional economics to further develop such alternatives.

Journal of Economic Issues. Volume XLVI, Issue 4, Pages 909-919.