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Valuing Foreign Lives and Settlements

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  • Dana David A.

    (Northwestern University School of Law)

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    Abstract

    Cost-benefit analysis in the United States for policy and legal purposes traditionally has been highly parochial, excluding not just losses or gains of welfare to non-U.S. residents from a given policy but also excluding any losses or gains in welfare U.S. residents would experience as a result of impacts to foreigners and foreign settlements. In the climate change context, this approach has meant that cost-benefit analyses for the costs of unmitigated climate change to the United States value at zero the losses that U.S. residents will bear as a result of the direct, adverse impacts of climate change to foreign lives and settlements. This article argues that there are sound theoretical reasons to include such welfare losses in a cost-benefit analysis, and that doing so requires going beyond revealed preference data to consider stated preference surveys. The article presents the findings of internet-based surveys that strongly suggest that the implicit assumption of the current approach to cost-benefit analysis in the United States—that U.S. residents value foreign lives and settlements that may be destroyed by climate change at zero—is untenable.

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    File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jbca.2010.1.1/jbca.2010.1.1.1003/jbca.2010.1.1.1003.xml?format=INT
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 1-26

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:1:y:2010:i:1:n:4

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

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