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Four Dogmas of Environmental Economics

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  • Mark Sagoff
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    Abstract

    Four dogmas have shaped modern neoclassical economics. The first proposes that markets may fail to allocate resources efficiently, that is, to those willing to pay the most for them. The second asserts that choices, particularly within markets, reveal preferences. The third is the assumption that people always make the choices they expect will benefit them or enhance their welfare. The fourth dogma holds that perfectly competitive markets will allocate resources to their most beneficial uses. This is the doctrine of the invisible hand. I argue that these dogmas of applied welfare economics should be abandoned. One consequence of doing so will be an increased interest in the institutional context of production. A second will be a turn toward empiricism.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.

    Volume (Year): 3 (1994)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 285-310

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    Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev3:ev316

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    Web page: http://www.erica.demon.co.uk

    Related research

    Keywords: Choices; externalities; market efficiency; preferences; welfare economics;

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    Cited by:
    1. Clark, Judy & Burgess, Jacquelin & Harrison, Carolyn M., 2000. ""I struggled with this money business": respondents' perspectives on contingent valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 45-62, April.
    2. Steele, Scott R., 2009. "Expanding the solution set: Organizational economics and agri-environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 398-405, December.
    3. Olof Johansson-Stenman, 1998. "The Importance of Ethics in Environmental Economics with a Focus on Existence Values," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 429-442, April.

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