Biodiversity offsets: political markets

Earlier this month I published an article with my colleague Dr Jennifer Ferreira in the Review of Social Economy, titled Political markets? Politics and economics in the emergence of markets for biodiversity offsets. It is a companion piece to the 2017 paper in the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.

RSEIn this paper, Jennifer and I consider the problem of how markets come to exist. Specifically, we address the relationship between political drivers of market creation and the role of economics ideas and concepts in making markets come about.  We identify two broad concepts of how these two drivers interact from the literature. Broadly:

  • Mediation: economic ideas create markets, politics determines the specifics;
  • Marketisation: markets are political projects, economics provides only the rationale.

By analysing the creation of markets for biodiversity offsets in the UK and the US, we conclude that the mediation hypothesis is a better descriptor of what actually takes place.

We really enjoyed writing this paper. We feel it tackles an important question in terms how governance mechanisms com about, and the role of ideas, discourses and politics in the process of market creation.

The paper can be found here.

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