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Scientific progress and irreversibility: an economic interpretation of the 'Precautionary Principle'

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  • Gollier, Christian
  • Jullien, Bruno
  • Treich, Nicolas

Abstract

Les auteurs cherchent à justifier le principe de précaution (Traité de Maastricht) qui veut que l'absence de certitudes, compte tenu des connaissances scientifiques du moment, ne retarde pas l'adoption de mesures de prévention des risques. Pour ce faire, ils considèrent le problème d'un bien dont la consommation peut s'avérer nuisible dans le long terme. L'intensité du dommage est incertaine. Elle dépend de la consommation totale du bien sur les périodes antérieures. Des progrès sont faits qui améliorent la connaissance sur la distribution du risque. Ils étudient sous quelles conditions la présence d'une incertitude plus grande sur la distribution des dommages potentiels réduit le niveau socialement efficace de consommation du bien. L'analyse a de nombreuses applications, comme le problème du réchauffement de la terre, la maladie de la vache folle, le drame de l'amiante ou le sang contaminé.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 75 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 229-253

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:75:y:2000:i:2:p:229-253

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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