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Mad cows, terrorism and junk food: Should public policy reflect perceived or objective risks?

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  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that people's risk-perceptions are often systematically biased. This paper develops a simple framework to analyse public policy when this is the case. Expected utility (well-being) is shown to depend on both objective and perceived risks (beliefs). The latter are important because of the fear associated with the risk and as a basis for corrective taxation and second-best adjustments. Optimality rules for public provision of risk-reducing investments, "internality-correcting" taxation (e.g. fat taxes) and provision of costly information to reduce people's risk-perception bias are presented.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 234-248

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:234-248

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hammitt, James & Robinson, Lisa, 2010. "Behavioral Economics and the Conduct of Benefit-Cost Analysis: Towards Principles and Standards," TSE Working Papers 10-269, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  2. Alpízar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Naranjo, Maria A., 2010. "Farmers’ Adaptation to Climate Change: A Framed Field Experiment," Discussion Papers dp-09-18-rev-efd, Resources For the Future.
  3. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Henrik Jaldell, 2012. "Do administrators have the same priorities for risk reductions as the general public?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 79-95, August.
  4. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Naranjo, Maria, 2009. "The effect of risk, ambiguity, and coordination on farmers’ adaptation to climate change: A framed field experiment," Working Papers in Economics 382, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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