Understanding Value Change in the Energy Transition: Exploring the Perspective of Original Institutional Economics

Aad Correljé*, Udo Pesch, Eefje Cuppen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we take inspiration from original institutional economics (OIE) as an approach to study value change within the highly complex assembly of sociotechnical transformations that make up the energy transition. OIE is examined here as a suitable perspective, as it combines Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy and a methodological interactionist perspective on value change, behavior and institutions, with technology figuring as a transformational factor. This combination overcomes conceptual and methodological shortcomings of alternative accounts of values. We will present the contours of an OIE based conceptual framework connecting nature, humans, technology, the economic process, society, culture and institutions and habits, valuation and behavior. We illustrate how to use this framework to examine and understand how environmental, ecologic, safety, economic, and social concerns about the energy transition are (re)framed as (new) values in the belief systems and habits of individuals and groups. Moreover, we will explore how that may give rise to collective action, via the institutionalization of such revised values in the procedures, arrangements, norms and incentives guiding transactions. As such, this approach allows us in a fine-grained manner to conceptually and theoretically understand the way in which values change in the energy-transition, as a complex interaction of technology development and social relations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Behavior
  • Energy transition
  • Institution
  • Technology
  • Transaction
  • Value change


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