Macroeconomic Perspectives on Digitalized EconomiesSocio-Ecological Risks and Chances of the Digitalization

Picture: Maksim Kabakou/

Digitalization changes what we produce and how we organize production. On the macroeconomic level, great hopes are associated with digitalization: New growth impulses, more jobs, but also greater resource efficiency and thus the possibility to combine economic growth and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, the digitalization will change the international division of labor in global value chains.

However, do these hopes keep up to a reality check? So far, it seems rather not. The growth rates in early-industrialized countries have been low for decades and unemployment is persistent. Economies are far from a sufficient decoupling of growth and environmental consumption. As a result, it is necessary to include sufficiency strategies in developing concepts for sustainable economies.

Digitalization in a socio-ecological economy

In this habilitation project, I examine the role of digitalization in a socio-ecological economy. At the economic level, it raises the question of how digitalization can be used in order to create efficient post-growth economies: How can macroeconomic rebound risks be inhibited and sufficiency strategies facilitated? On a global economic level, the central theme is how the relation between regional production and international value chains can be adequately structured in the context of digitalization: How can digital services support regional and sufficiency-orientated economic structures, and which products should be produced within global value chains? These topics are investigated with a transdisciplinary mix of methods: The focus is on qualitative and model-based theory approaches which are based on quantitative data, interviews with practitioners and the investigations of the dissertation projects of this research group.

Contact Person

Dr Steffen Lange