Steering innovations towards a green economy: Understanding government intervention

N. Droste*, B. Hansjürgens, P. Kuikman, N. Otter, R. Antikainen, P. Leskinen, K. Pitkänen, L. Saikku, E. Loiseau, M. Thomsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we analyse institutional conditions facilitating the transition towards a green economy by encouraging investment in the enhancement of natural capital and social equity, focussing especially on government interventions. Presenting a conceptual institutional model how innovation generally occurs, we depict system levels that can be influenced by government interventions to facilitate societal innovations towards a green economy. We hypothesize that the transition to a green economy is about extending the possibility frontier outwards towards a greener economy while at the same time limiting the “action space” at the brown economy end; a normative evaluation framework is presented to assess transitions correspondingly. We elaborate on the emerging lessons for governance by examining evidence from five selected European case studies, and provide a non-exhaustive list of impacts that government intervention may have on the action spaces available at different system levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Governance
  • Green economy
  • Innovation
  • Natural capital
  • Social equity
  • Transition management


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