Socio-cognitive evolution and co-evolution in competing technical trajectories: Biogas development in denmark (1970–2002)

F. W. Geels, R. P.J.M. Raven

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This article makes two fundamental contributions to evolutionary theories of technological changes. First, a socio-cognitive evolutionary perspective is developed that conceptualisesthe emergence of new technologies in the pre-market phase. This topic is underdeveloped in evolutionary economics, because of its emphasis on market selection. Second, the article addresses co-evolution between two competing technical trajectories. In the pre-market phase, this interaction occurs via expectations and social networks. The perspective is illustrated with a longitudinal case study of biogas plants in Denmark. This sustainability innovation exists in two forms: Farm-scale plants and centralised plants. Both forms are carried by different populations and based on different cognitive rules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biogas
  • Co-evolution
  • Denmark
  • Evolutionary economics
  • Socio-cognitive perspectives

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