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Scientific Numerology, Preference Anomalies, and Environmental Policymaking

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  • John List

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Abstract

Recently an abundance of experimental evidence has been gathered that is consonant with the notion that individual preferences are inconsistent and unstable. These empirical results potentially undermine the theoretical foundation of welfare economics, as the degree of preference lability claimed suggests that perhaps no optimization principles underlie even the most straightforward of choices. Yet policymakers in the environmental arena continue to prescribe policies based on economics-based methods that are constructed on the very principles that have been directly refuted. Are policymakers creatures of habit that move at glacial speed or is there something deeper behind their inertness? In this study, I explore this issue within the U.S. context and argue that there is some rationality behind current public policy decisionmaking. I then explore whether the empirical evidence supports the view that policymakers should take preference anomalies seriously. As a case study, I focus on some of my recent findings on preference inconsistencies in the marketplace. Copyright Springer 2005

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-005-6027-1
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (09)
Pages: 35-53

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:32:y:2005:i:1:p:35-53

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

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Keywords: anomalies; government policy;

References

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  1. John A. List, 2006. "Using Hicksian Surplus Measures to Examine Consistency of Individual Preferences: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 115-134, 03.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wiktor L. Adamowicz, 2004. "What's it worth? An examination of historical trends and future directions in environmental valuation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(3), pages 419-443, 09.
  2. Elisabeth Gsottbauer & Jeroen Bergh, 2011. "Environmental Policy Theory Given Bounded Rationality and Other-regarding Preferences," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(2), pages 263-304, June.
  3. Robinson Lisa A & Hammitt James K., 2011. "Behavioral Economics and the Conduct of Benefit-Cost Analysis: Towards Principles and Standards," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-51, April.
  4. R. Turner, 2007. "Limits to CBA in UK and European environmental policy: retrospects and future prospects," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 253-269, May.
  5. Rogers, A. & Kragt, M.E. & Gibson, F. & Pannell, D. & Burton, M. & Petersen, L., 2013. "Is non-market valuation used in environmental policy making?," Working Papers 156197, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  6. Katrine Hjorth & Mogens Fosgerau, 2011. "Loss Aversion and Individual Characteristics," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(4), pages 573-596, August.
  7. Robert Sugden, 2005. "Anomalies and Stated Preference Techniques: A Framework for a Discussion of Coping Strategies," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 1-12, 09.
  8. John List, 2013. "Using field experiments to change the template of how we teach economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00389, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Jeffery Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Jette Jacobsen & John Boiesen & Bo Thorsen & Niels Strange, 2008. "What’s in a name? The use of quantitative measures versus ‘Iconised’ species when valuing biodiversity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(3), pages 247-263, March.

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