Sunday, May 22, 2011

Castro e Silva and Teixeira

An interesting paper by Castro e Silva and Teixeira reviews the evolution of themes and types of papers in Ecological Economics over the first 20 years of its existence. The paper joins other bibliometric analyses of the journal including Luzadis et al. (2010), Costanza et al. (2004), and Ma and Stern (2006). Two of their main findings are that:
  • There has been an increase in the number of empirical papers over time together with a decline in formal and "appreciative" papers (these include "theoretical arguments, appreciations, [critique], and judgments").
  • There have been increases in the number of papers on valuation and most other substantive categories together with a decline in "theory-building" papers.
They also compare "seminal papers" with more than 100 citations to others. Theory building and global environmental issues papers are more represented among the highly cited papers.

Castro e Silva and Teixeira argue that these trends indicate that ecological economics is becoming a "post-normal" science. I don't think that the evidence presented says much about the post-normal aspect of ecological economics. I would argue that instead they show that it is becoming a normal science dominated more by empirical problem-solving and less by critiques of existing science and radical new theories.

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