This paper is an introduction to the special issue «Economics and the environment since the 1950s: history, methodology, philosophy». It provides an overview of the major questions and themes that have structured the field of environmental economics since its origins (debates on the limits to growth, sustainable development, ecosystem services, monetary valuation of nature, etc.). It also presents the ways in which this academic field has been built thanks to a set of original pioneering contributions (Boulding, Georgescu-Roegen, Schumacher, Passet, Sachs…) and to the deployment of different schools and currents of thought (mainstream economics, ecological economics, bioeconomics…), which are still in competition today. Finally, this paper recalls that the politicization observed since the 1950s has been accompanied by its economization, thanks to the analytical work carried out by economists to translate its complex issues into theories, concepts and recommendations to decision-makers.
JEL Classification: B29, N50, Q50, Q57
- history of economic thought
- environmental economics
- ecological economics