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Le principe de précaution comme norme de l'action publique ou la proportionnalité en question

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  • Olivier Godard

    (CECO - Laboratoire d'econometrie de l'école polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7657 - Polytechnique - X)

Abstract

L'introduction du principe de précaution en France a donné naissance à deux conceptions antagonistes. La première, correspondant à la définition légale et à la doctrine européenne, promeut une prévention précoce mais proportionnée de risques potentiels. La seconde, portée par des ONG et relayée par l'usage courant en situation de crise, demande la preuve de l'innocuité et vise asymptotiquement l'éradication des risques par l'accumulation de mesures précautionneuses. Cette situation a entretenu une confusion entre deux idées : agir de façon précoce, sans attendre des certitudes scientifiques, et agir de façon plus précautionneuse. L'article dresse un tableau des conceptions en présence puis montre en quoi la " règle d'abstention " n'est pas défendable, même lorsqu'on atténue ses exigences. Il montre ensuite comment une mauvaise structuration du problème de décision crée un artefact par lequel la précocité dans le temps scientifique induit mécaniquement une inflation des risques via l'aggravation des dommages potentiels perçus. Pour s'en prémunir, il faut s'en tenir à deux garde-fous : instituer la prise en compte des avantages potentiels au même titre que les dommages potentiels ; proportionner les actions de prévention à la plausibilité scientifique des hypothèses de risque de façon à donner de moindres effets pratiques aux conjectures non étayées qu'aux hypothèses confortées par un faisceau d'éléments scientifiques.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00242985.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00242985

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Related research

Keywords: Risques; Principe de précaution; Evaluation; Incertitude; Décision;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106, February.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-38, June.
  4. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00150931 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Eric BERR (GREThA), 2008. "Which development for the 21st century? Reflections on sustainable development\r\n (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-04, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  3. Meglena Jeleva & Stephane Rossignol, 2009. "Political decision of risk reduction: the role of trust," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 83-104, April.

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