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Scitovsky Reversals and Efficiency Criteria in Policy Analysis

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Author Info

  • Schmitz Andrew

    (University of Florida)

  • Zerbe Richard O.

    (University of Washington)

Abstract

Lawyers and philosophers have used the Scitovsky paradox to discredit cost-benefit analyses. His paradox is used as a criticism of the potential compensation criterion. But the occurrence of reversals is severely limited. The Compensation Principle, even with its potential nature, requires that compensation actually could be paid. Based on many empirical cost-benefit studies, the actual cost of compensation, which includes transaction costs, can be large. The attempt at actual compensation could turn a highly desirable project into a highly undesirable one, as the benefit-cost ratio could change from greater than one to less than one. The proper justification for using BCA is the Pareto principle considered across a portfolio of projects not the Compensation Principle.

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File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jafio.2008.6.2/jafio.2008.6.2.1235/jafio.2008.6.2.1235.xml?format=INT
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 1-20

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bjafio:v:6:y:2008:i:2:n:3

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Web page: http://www.degruyter.com

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