The fight against poverty is a core subject at Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne University for development economists and development studies scientists. Contributions at the conceptual level (e.g. the notion of poverty traps) as well as at the empirical level (e.g. impact evaluation of anti-poverty programs) are already existing and will be further developed. The issue of poverty is not limited to the developing country areas, and is becoming more and more pressing in developed countries as well. Knowledge and expertise acquired by development studies experts will be mobilized to contribute as well to analysing poverty and exclusion in France and other developed countries. Existing expertise of geographers on the localisation of poverty will be also mobilized.
“GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING”
Economists at Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne University (in collaboration with medical research teams in France and in some developing countries) have developed theoretical and empirical research on communicable diseases. In doing so they have contributed to the relatively new area of research constituted by economic epidemiology where the understanding of individual protection and treatment behaviour (e.g. prevalence elasticity of protective behaviours), and the externalities that they create, is an essential component to design efficient public health policies Collaboration between economists and geographers, which has already started with the DYNAMITE Labex, will be extended and will be instrumental to produce more research results, as the geographical dimension of such public health issues is central.
This is the same in Art with the concept of CARE, where it is a question of identifying and theorising what art brings to "theories of care" and what these "theories of care" bring to art. From this perspective, art will first be understood in terms of its effect on the world and ability to transform it, both in terms of how it enables collective and public experiences, but also on the basis of its heuristic and epistemological characteristics, as art makes it possible to see what wasn't seen before and to shift the boundaries of knowledge.
Research on gender issues is very active at Paris 1, and it covers various societal dimensions, from behavioural analysis to normative analysis of policies aiming at building gender equality. The EUR Transition has already built, based on this research knowledge, a strong and comprehensive training module on gender issues: the Gender Studies Certificate (certificat en études genre).
It is a question of having students discover the relevance of an gender related approach to sustainable development (via sociology, art, history, anthropology, political science), by presenting traditional studies on gender (in particular the works of English and American researchers) and to show the interest of an approach that takes into account the social relationships of sex as it pertains to various objects. Having assessed the theoretical basis of related concepts (gender/sex/sexuality, etc.), we will focus our presentation on specific research which addresses the question of socialisation, school, consumption and usage of cultural assets and of leisure activities, and of course political engagement, among other subjects.
Transitions towards sustainability can be characterized as a major collective innovative effort: economic and technological innovation, but also social, cultural or legal innovation.
With respect to economic and technological innovation, the main challenge is to reconcile sustainable development with economic growth in a macro-economic context of sluggish post-crisis recovery and budgetary imbalances. In this perspective, a key challenge for the EUR will be to contribute to a better understanding of the specific of innovation and growth policies in the context of directed technological change.
Beyond technology, socio-economic innovations such as social entrepreneurship or, at a systemic level, the emergence of a circular economy are key in the transition towards sustainable development. We will investigate jointly the economic, geographical and legal aspects of these innovations in order to contribute to the design of an efficient policy and regulatory framework.
More broadly, cultural innovation is key to the emergence of new forms of social and economic organizations. Through art studies, the EUR is at the forefront of the analysis of cultural change and its societal impact. The specific focus of research team such as Art&Flux on energy and climate change puts the EUR in a unique position to interact with stakeholders and decision-makers about the cultural foundations of pathways towards sustainability. A number of high-level institutions, most notably the united nations, are already associated to this effort.
Due to high population densities and material consumption, cities have huge impacts in terms of energy consumption, carbon emission, socio-metabolism and ecological footprint. Transformation to sustainability in megacities is therefore vital to the global realisation of sustainable development goals. An important dimension of the challenge is that 31 megacities that exist today are in the Global South, where all 10 of the predicted new megacities are also projected to develop.
The EUR aims to contribute to the understanding of the current dynamics of cities and of the means by which citizens, socio-economic actors and policy-makers can contribute to their transformation to sustainability. This will require a transversal analysis of the structure of cities spanning cultural, institutional, socio-economic and technical aspects. This also requires an understanding of the embedding cities in broader networks of cities, of international trade or of infrastructure. By combining insights from law, economics, geography, political science and arts, students and researchers of the EUR will be in a unique position to contribute to the definition and to infer the necessary conditions for the emergence of sustainable cities. Advances in numerical and mathematical methods will then contribute to a quantitative modeling of the possible pathways.
In particular, we shall contribute to the assessment of climate risk in cities in the framework of the H2020 (proposed) project ECRA (European Climate Risk Assessment). In this setting, we will consider the interactions between social, cultural and economic dynamics in cities and challenges posed by (i) risks on infrastructures (e.g. utility networks) related to climate extreme events, (ii ) propagation of risks related to the role of cities in global supply chains and regional infrastructures, (iii) risks related to the conjunction of climate events at different time-scales (e.g heat-wave + pollution) that might challenge the functioning of the city infrastructure. More broadly, we will analyze the conjunction of climate-related risks and socio-economic vulnerabilities at different time-scales.
The challenge of climate change is at the heart of the sustainable development strategy promoted by France and many other countries, as well as a topical research area for this EUR. Research in this domain encompasses many different aspects and mobilizes several complementary skills. For instance, mathematical modeling contributes to better understanding the conflicting dynamics related to global warming, taking the natural, economic and financial factors that are at stake into account. Development studies contribute to analysing the consequences of climate change for emerging and developing countries, as well as the ways in which such countries can be involved in a global coalition against global warming. Economic and sociological analyses of behaviour must be further developed in order to better understand which incentives can be promoted to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions. Game theorists and political scientists should equally collaborate to better understand how to create and strengthen coalitions in favor of climate action. Their analyses must also include lawyers’ contributions in order to develop new legal norms for supporting climate action.
The aim of the researchers of Paris 1 is to investigate how transportation and mobility system can support sustainable policies as to say mobility framework supporting economic growth, human capital and capabilities, climate and environmental friendly transportation and activities.
This implies to investigate on the one hand the patterns for a sustainable mobility and on the other hand how transportation can contribute to livable and sustainable cities and regions.
Interdisciplinary approaches are required to investigate sustainable mobility from geography (morphological zoning of transportation flows and the impact of transport infrastructures of the development of rural and urban areas, the development of mega regions) and demography (the challenge of aging society vs teenagers society) to economics (how to explain the gap between long term and short term elasticities to fuel prices and more broadly to transport fares), and physics.
DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC ACTION
Political scientists are working on the relations between ecological transition and democratic innovation. Philosophers are investigating modalities of social transformation and democratic deliberation at all levels (local, national and global). Development studies scientists reflect on the relationships between conflicts on resources and the building of public and collective action. Lawyers study how new norms and laws such as in France the 2004 charter on environment contributes to the building on public policies that promote sustainable development. Economists follow the tradition of Elinor Ostrom in her analysis of original governance institutions that emerge to solve the tragedy of the commons. Geographers study how to reconcile the ecological, economic and sociocultural needs of a large number of actors operating at different scales of responsibility and action. All these contributions will be harnessed to build a thorough multifaceted understanding on the challenges and opportunities of collective actions that are needed to promote sustainable development.
SOCIETAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
RESPONSIBILITY IN ORGANISATION
Philosophers consider that the concept of sustainable development and the idea of societal and environmental responsibility of organisations are key. They mobilize to this end ethics as well as social and political philosophy. Management scientists conduct research on responsible dynamics in corporate governances and intend to train the next generations of decision makers on awareness of the ethical challenges inherent in the systems. Economists contribute also to the understanding of the corporate social responsibility strategies of companies at the global level, which is partly characterized by “green washing” and as such increases the complexity of global environmental challenges. Here also, an interdisciplinary approach will promote a better understanding of the key challenges of further developments of corporate responsibility in the societal and environmental areas.
Sustainable development raises a number of questions about equity. First of all, equity between generations: how to guarantee a sustainable development for future generations ? But also equity within generations: how to allocate the costs of climate policy without jeopardizing the development potential of poorest countries and without putting an excessive burden on the most vulnerables. How to account for historical responsibility in climate change ? Further, sustainable development calls for new forms of cooperation and collaboration to limit the impact of society on the environment, e.g. circular economy, industrial symbiosis, local consumption of agricultural goods. What are the ethical and legal foundations of these patterns of behavior ? How do they spread ?
By bringing together economists, law scientists,mathematicians and philosophers, the EUR will be in a position to integrate the multiple dimensions of the equity issues into legal principles and quantitative criteria for policy evaluation.
Economists working on SDGs use more and more geolocalized data for their analyses, such as that from DHS (Demographic and Health Surveys) or AidData (geolocalized data on aid projects). There are a wide range of collaborations with geographers, who already have a strong expertise in geomatics. Investments in new training programs on big data jointly enacted by the economics and mathematics departments of the University Paris 1 will be also harnessed. Combining all of these new data sources and methodologies should lead to significant research advances, whose results will be immediately transferable to policy making and field action. This expertise on geolocalized data management and treatment is already central to some of our master’s programs, but will be further developed.
RISK AND UNCERTAINTY
Until now, most research on climate risks has treated them on a par with conventional risks. These are risks like traffic accidents, work accidents, local floods, damages from fire and more. They can be reasonably well defined, and statistical data are available to assess the probabilities and financial damages involved. Climate risks, however, are more akin to the systemic risks considered in research on financial markets or in war studies. With these risks, it is essential to distinguish between the impact of a single event and the impact of slowly moving parameters of the system under consideration. The latter determines – often through complex pathways – whether a particular event will have moderate or dramatic effects.
The project will consider climate risks as systemic risks and investigate the relevant critical transitions. Thereby, it will offer important methodological advances in risk assessment and combine them with related advances in the physical sciences and in economics. On this basis, it will provide detailed quantitative and qualitative assessments of medium- and long-term climate risks, with special attention to policy-making addressing both desirable and undesirable scenarios.
All public policies, programmes and projects must nowadays be subject to post-evaluation. Such evaluations should not concentrate only on the targeted outcome, but on all consequences of these policy actions for sustainable development. Many public organisations now routinely include the environmental dimension in their evaluation processes, but few take this dimension seriously and even fewer consider all components of sustainable development in their evaluations. This is both a promising area of research and a source of job opportunities for our students. As for research, the relatively new trend of RCTs (Randomized Control Trials) has produced much new knowledge on the impact of public policies. However, its relevance is still subject to unresolved debates. Applying the same post-evaluation strategies to social issues as those used in natural and medical sciences creates many methodological and ethical issues. Our researchers in the field of economics actively participate in these debates and will cooperate with other social scientists to further explore how to evaluate the impact of public policies on sustainable development. As for the training component, impact evaluation is already taught in some of our master’s programs, notably concerning environmental and development policies. This dimension will be reinforced in the master’s programmes of the EUR SSD- Transition. Practical case studies will be readily available for students: both through applied research projects (e.g. in economics and development studies) as well as through field actions in the sector of sustainable development policies. All of these research and training activities on impact evaluation will certainly benefit from advances in data collection, management and treatment (Cf. workpackage on data). They will also contribute to better understanding the different SDG objects as well as the challenges of governance and public action related to sustainable development (Cf. workpackage on democratic governance and public action).