Lina Isacs

Postdoctoral position at Institute for Housing and Urban Research

Visiting address:
Trädgårdsgatan 18
Postal address:
Box 514
751 20 UPPSALA

Researcher at Department of Economic History

Visiting address:
Kyrkogårdsgatan 10
Postal address:
Box 513
751 20 UPPSALA

Short presentation

Lina Isacs is an ecological economist. Her research concerns theories of value and valuation from neoclassical environmental economics and ecological economics and how these influence environmental policy, and especially practices for valuing nature.


  • deliberativ demokrati
  • deliberative democracy
  • ecbuto003
  • ecological economics
  • ekologisk ekonomi
  • environmental economics
  • esdeve007
  • gopole004
  • miljöekonomi
  • neoclassical theory
  • neoklassisk teori
  • phhith005
  • sustainable development


I have a PhD in planning and decision analysis from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and a masters degree in economics from Stockholm University. My thesis Deliberating value: On the theory and practice of valuation of nature from neoclassical to ecological economics examines underlying for-granted-taken ideas in neoclassical economics related to monetary valuation of nature and how they impact research and environmental policy. I used a reflexive, partly auto-ethnographic approach to illustrate how this manifests in my five research papers, where the two first apply the value theory and valuation methods from neoclassical theory and the other three examine this theory of value with increasing degrees of criticism, especially its central assumption that value can be derived from people’s choices, or “revealed preferences”.

Prior to Uppsala University and KTH, I have worked within research and teaching in environmental and ecological economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala and Stockholm Resilience Centre, as a public official at the Swedish Chemicals Agency, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and for the green party Miljöpartiet in the Swedish parliament.


TRANSPLACE (years 2023-2029)

My postdoc at IBF is connected to the research school TRANSPLACE.

Read about the project and my research on TRANSPLACE's web page.

Financed by Formas.

Environmental economics in action: A practice-based inquiry into Swedish environmental policy (years 2023-2029)

Independent research project at the Department of Economic History.

Today it is widely accepted that environmental problems should be managed through the market mechanism with instruments such as taxes, emission trading systems or subsidies instead of more direct regulation, such as bans or quantitative restrictions. As the ecological crises intensify, however, this approach and especially the ideas behind it from environmental economics face growing criticism for reproducing the problems that neoclassical economics is often accused of causing, such as a neglect of nature's limits and an overconfidence in markets' problem-solving ability.

Yet, whilst environmental economists may agree that too little is done against the escalating ecological crises, they fundamentally disagree with their critics about environmental economics's role in this; according to them, if anything, their ideas are not influential enough. There are thus two diametrically different stories here about the role of environmental economics for sustainability. In this project I seek to understand the role of environmental economics in environmental policy by focusing on the work of environmental economists as policy experts ‘in action’. Through qualitative, empirical case studies at Swedish governmental agencies, I use document studies, observations and interviews with environmental economists and policy-makers to examine which, how and why environmental economics' ideas translate into actual policy, and not.

I use theory and methodology from different fields, including philosophy, heterodox economics, economic history and didactics. By detailing this process of how knowledge, decisions and meaning-making come about through concrete policy practices I hope to expose how actions in environmental policy support can be reformed and open up for options that support sustainability transformation.

This project is financed with a research grant from Handelsbanken and the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius and Tore Browaldh's foundation.


This text is not available in English, therefore the Swedish version is shown.

Bloggpost: Tänk om ekonomiutbildningen! Jag skriver för Klimatledarskap, Uppsala universitet, 20 september 2022.

Intervju i Grus och Guld nr 4/21

Intervju i podden Nyfiken den 9 november 2021 (in English)


Selection of publications

Recent publications

All publications






Lina Isacs