DS0207 - Approches de la transition énergétique par les sciences humaines et sociales

New Tools for the Governance of the Energy Transition: the role of NGOs – GREENGO

Submission summary

The energy transition cannot be achieved without dramatic changes in our society. The starting point of this research is the observation that the emergence of a huge number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), particularly in the field of environment, constitutes a prominent lever for transforming markets, society and public policies. NGOs are now central actors of policy-making processes as well as initiators of public debates about the needs of environmental policies. They play a critical role in public politics by providing people with information about the environmental state of the world, bringing social and environmental issues to public awareness, and mobilizing support for political action on these issues. They also strongly influence corporate incentives to self-regulate.
A better understanding of NGOs behavior and strategies seems thus crucial. However, their analysis has been so far mostly neglected in the economic literature. Most existing works are in political science, sociology, socio-economics, management, and business ethics. And yet economists have tools and approaches (e.g., experimental economics, political economy, and information economics), which could efficiently complement the existing literature. The project will seek to fill this gap.
The project addresses six general questions: (1) How can green NGOs’ objectives and constraints be understood and thus modeled? (2) What are the specific strategies and tactics used by NGOs when interacting with corporations? (3) How do they influence corporate behavior? How do they affect firms’ profits? (4) How do they influence consumers and other stakeholders’ perceptions of corporate environmental and social behavior? (5) How and why do NGOs compete with each other, cooperate with corporations, governments or get involved in international negotiations? (6) Do green NGOs substitute or complement public regulators and how their strategies contribute to the energy transition?

The research will combine theory and evidence. More specifically, we will develop theoretical models aiming at explaining NGOs strategies; we will construct a dataset describing NGO informational behavior, their funding sources and activities (extracted from press releases, NGOs websites). These data will then be used to test the predictions of some of the models.
Although our approach is mostly economic, the main novelty of the project is the acknowledgment that green NGOs are specific political-economic agents whose objectives deserve to be thoroughly examined. In order to provide the basis for a sound understanding of the motive for NGOs objectives, claims and behaviors, the project will also take into consideration the findings of the sociological literature on this topic.

The partnership includes highly skilled environmental economists, with deep expertise in industrial organization, welfare economics, behavioral economics and game theory. Until now, some of them have started working on this topic either in isolation or in bilateral collaboration. The ANR support will offer them the opportunity and the means to benefit from synergies by meeting regularly and working together in various configurations.

Project coordination

Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline (CES - Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne (UMR8174 CNRS/UP1))

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LAMETA - INRA Montpellier Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée
ARMINES (CERNA) ARMINES Centre d'Economie Industrielle de Mines Paris Tech
CES CES - Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne
CES (UMR8174 CNRS/UP1) CES - Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne (UMR8174 CNRS/UP1)

Help of the ANR 209,444 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2016 - 36 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés



ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter