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Formalization and Applications of the Precuationary Principle

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Author Info

  • Claude HENRY

    (Laboratoire d’Econométrie, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

  • Marc HENRY

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Depertment of Economics, Columbia University, New York)

Abstract

A formalization of the Precuationary Principle is given here: We formalize scientific knowledge on the likelihood of events in the state space and the concepts of scientifically unambiguous events and acts. We gie a definition of non-precautionary social planner as a Savage Expected Utility maximizer who evaluates acts relativ to a baseline, called “business as usual”, and who disregards scientifically ambguous acts, and we show that, for a wide class of preferences for the representative agent, non-r-precautionary decision making is sub-optimal. A discussion of this formalization is given in the context of national and international debates on Precaution, in the fields of Climate Change, of WTO arbitrages, and of the safety regulations of chemical products.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2002009.

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Length: 19
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2002009

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Keywords: Ambiguity; objectively unambiguous; precaution;

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  1. Sarin, Rakesh K & Wakker, Peter, 1992. "A Simple Axiomatization of Nonadditive Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1255-72, November.
  2. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
  3. Pindyck, Robert S., 1990. "Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment," Working papers 3137-90., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  4. Paolo Ghirardato & Massimo Marinacci, 2000. "Risk, Ambiguity and the Separation of Utility and Beliefs," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1143, Econometric Society.
  5. Epstein, Larry G, 1980. "Decision Making and the Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(2), pages 269-83, June.
  6. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  7. Massimiliano Amarante, 2003. "Ambiguity, Measurability and Multiple Priors," Discussion Papers 0203-23, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  8. Olivier Godard, 2005. "The precautionary principle. Between social norms and economic constructs," Working Papers hal-00243008, HAL.
  9. Gollier, Christian & Jullien, Bruno & Treich, Nicolas, 2000. "Scientific progress and irreversibility: an economic interpretation of the 'Precautionary Principle'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 229-253, February.
  10. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  11. repec:fth:coluec:645 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Peter Klibanoff & Emre Ozdenoren, 1998. "Maximum Expected Utility over Savage Acts with a Set of Priors," Discussion Papers 1218, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Chichilnisky, G. & Heal, G., 1993. "Global Environmental Risks," Discussion Papers 1993_03, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  14. Timothy O'Riordan & Andrew Jordan, 1995. "The Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Environmental Politics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 4(3), pages 191-212, August.
  15. Cohen, M. & Tallon, J.M., 1999. "Decision dans le risque et l'incertitude:l'apport des modeles non additifs," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 1999.69, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  16. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1997. "Global Warming, Irreversibility and Learning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 636-50, May.
  17. Adriana Castaldo & Massimo Marinacci, 2001. "Random correspndences as bundles of random variables," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 12-2001, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  18. Epstein, L.G. & Zhang, J., 1998. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectivity Unambiguous Event," RCER Working Papers 456, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  19. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
  20. Epstein, Larry G & Zhang, Jiankang, 2001. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectively Unambiguous Events," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 265-306, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Simon Dietz, 2009. "High impact, low probability? An empirical analysis of risk in the economics of climate change," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 9, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  2. Antony Millner & Simon Dietz & Geoffrey Heal, 2010. "Ambiguity and climate policy," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 24, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  3. Antony Millner & Simon Dietz & Geoffrey Heal, 2013. "Scientific Ambiguity and Climate Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 55(1), pages 21-46, May.
  4. Simon Dietz, 2011. "High impact, low probability? An empirical analysis of risk in the economics of climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 519-541, October.
  5. Martin L. Weitzman, 2012. "A Precautionary Tale of Uncertain Tail Fattening," NBER Working Papers 18144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Geoffrey Heal & Bengt Kriström, 2002. "Uncertainty and Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 3-39, June.
  7. Tania BOUGLET & Thomas LANZI & J.-C. VERGNAUD, 2006. "Incertitude scientifique et décision publique : le recours au Principe de précaution," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2006021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  8. Geoffrey Heal, 2008. "Climate Economics: A Meta-Review and Some Suggestions," NBER Working Papers 13927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Simon Dietz, 2009. "High impact, low probability? An empirical analysis of risk in the economics of climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 37612, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Pauline Barrieu & Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 2003. "The Paradox of Precaution," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-63, CIRANO.
  11. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00150931 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Marcello Basili & Mauriziop Franzini, 2005. "The Avian Flu Disease: A Case of Precautionary Failure," Department of Economics University of Siena 454, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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