Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Janelle Knox-Hayes is the Lister Brothers Associate Professor of Economic Geography and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. She holds a visiting research fellowship at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University. Her research focuses on the ways in which social and environmental systems are governed under changing temporal and spatial scales as a consequence of globalization. She has studied the political and economic interface of financial markets and environmental systems and how individuals and organizations plan and make decisions under conditions of socio-economic uncertainty. Her latest project examines how social values shape sustainable development. Janelle is the author of a number of peer-reviewed works in prestigious journals and presses. She serves as an editor of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2011
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
Comparative Analysis of the Institutional Development of Environmental Finance in Asia the United States and Europe

Project Summary Human and natural systems are becoming increasingly mismatched in their scale of operation and reproduction. Climate change and biodiversity loss have arisen from the lack of synchrony between economic and environmental systems. In response, policy makers are turning increasing attention to environmental finance, the pricing of environmental goods and externalities through financial mechanisms. The project proposes to investigate the initiation and evolution of the institution of environmental finance in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. The study will investigate both the agency and structure of developing environmental financial institutions through interviews with financial experts and analysis of service networks and infrastructure. Grounded visualization in GIS will be used to evaluate the spatial and cultural influence of the financial centers on the formation of new markets. The project will illuminate the formation of environmental financial systems and their operation, including their spatial configuration and cultural dimensions. This study will investigate three key questions: 1) how is environmental finance institutionalized and how does it operate, 2) how does cultural context influence the institutionalization of environmental finance, and 3) in what ways do developing environmental finance systems incorporate spatial and temporal dimensions? Intellectual Merit The project will make a significant contribution to the development of new policies and to interdisciplinary literatures by 1) providing insight into the institutionalization of financial systems and their transfer across cultural boundaries, 2) mapping networks of market institutions and their spatial scope and 3) establishing a new methodology for chronicling the evolution of dynamic systems in present time. The project builds on extensive research the PI has conducted on emissions markets in the US and Europe, allowing for comparative analysis that will extend the empirical results and enable the development and refinement of transformative theory. The research significantly contributes to understanding of the operation of environmental finance, which will enable policy makers to better construct and regulate systems of environmental finance. Through its use of an online archive for public access to data, the project will open numerous future avenues of research to the PI and other investigators. The PI's knowledge of Japanese and the use of translators will facilitate access in Tokyo. Key collaborators at the Beijing Institute of Technology will facilitate language access in China. Additionally, collaborators in Hong Kong and Singapore have pledged their commitments to host the PI and facilitate access to their study sites. Broader Impacts The results of the research will speak to a wide audience including policy makers, market makers and academics studying market dynamics. The results will be informative for the development of climate change policies in both Asia and the United States. The results of the study will be disseminated widely and in a variety of media including through a blog and website, publication in scholarly journals and in book format, presentation at academic and industry conferences, and the deposit of all data and findings in an online archive. The research will strengthen collaborations between universities in the United States, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore.