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Publication Detail
The political economy of actively phasing out harmful industries: Lessons from resource-based sectors beyond fossil fuels
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    McDowall W
  • Publisher:
    Elsevier BV
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Energy Research & Social Science
  • Volume:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Phase-out, Deliberate decline, Destabilisation, Energy transition
  • Notes:
    © 2022 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
The growing urgency of reducing fossil fuel consumption has spurred interest in the political economy dimensions of policies that aim to phase out existing industries. Much of this growing literature has focused on previous energy transitions and phase-outs. In this perspective article, I highlight the value of looking at cases beyond energy and fossil fuels to understand the dynamics of industry phase-out. To illustrate the point, I provide three short empirical case studies of industries in which policymakers have taken active steps to phase out or reduce specific industries. The cases are asbestos mining, tobacco cultivation, and cod fisheries in the UK's Humber region. The cases highlight the potential for economic diversification policies to both soften the blow faced by communities that are dependent on industries at the heart of phase-out policies, and to undermine the advocacy coalitions opposing phase-out policy. All three also suggest that cultural identity issues can play an important role in the politics of industry decline. The paper concludes by highlighting four avenues for future research into the political economy of actively phasing out harmful industries.
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