Behaviour, Economics and Nature Network (BENN)

Behaviour, Economics and Nature Network (BENN)

As the scale of human activities increases and our society becomes more globalized, we impact an increasing number of earth system processes. Scientific evidence is mounting that suggests that human actions have become the main driver of global environmental change. Further, if the impacts of human activities cross critical thresholds, there is a risk of unpredictable and abrupt environmental change on local, regional and global scales.
The potential for such abrupt change vastly increases the complexity and difficulty of managing human impacts through environmental policy. In fact, we suggest that if we want to reverse this trend and create “a safe operating space for humanity” we need to move beyond environmental policy.
For example the implementation of traditional top-down interventions typically involve high transaction costs, which will rise as the perceived legitimacy of the intervention goes down. At the other end of the spectrum, bottom-up, self-organizing approaches typically depend on the existence and stability of social norms (e.g. fairness, trust, and reciprocity). Moreover, both these approaches share two crucial traits; they can be fragile and do not easily scale to the global level. 
The mission of BENN is to look beyond these current approaches and explore alternative approaches to living within planetary boundaries that emphasize achieving a good “fit” between human behavior, the biophysical environment, and governance.
 
In particular;
BENN will focus on the relationship between human behavior and the environment and seek to generate new mechanisms that leverage basic attributes of human behavior that may lead to pro-environmental choices. 
BENN will also seek to understand fundamental drivers of behavior and how behavioral patterns and processes are maintained at the aggregate level in terms of ecological, behavioral, and evolutionary mechanisms. 
Finally, given the rapid changes our global society faces, we will seek to identify elements of feedbacks between behavior and the environment that make governance systems robust vis-à-vis those that make them fragile.
 
The  programme director for BENN is Dr. Marty J. Anderies, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, while Therese Lindahl will continue to lead the programme in Stockholm. Professors Simon Levin, Princeton University, Karine Nyberg, Olso University, and Jason Shogren, University of Wyoming serve as the international advisory group of BENN

Beijer Institute projects related to BENN:

Arctic Climate Change Economy and Society - ACCESS

Climate change is strongly impacting both marine ecosystems and human activities in the Arctic, which in turn has important socio-economic implications for Europe. ACCESS will evaluate the latest Arctic climate change scenarios and establish their impacts...


Governing complex systems - the role of interdependent resources

This research project aims to answer questions regarding how resource interdependencies and user asymmetry affect the behaviour of resource users and the implications for management. 


Managing resources with potential regimshifts: using experiments to explore social-ecological linkages in common resource systems

In order to develop the optimal set of policies and management of common pool resources it is crucial to explore the linkages between ecological characteristics and human behavior. In this project we use experimental (laboratory and field) methods to test...