Sustainable Decisionmaking: The State of the Art from an Economics Perspective
AbstractGovernment, corporate and other decision makers are more and more often being urged to 'act sustainably' and to pursue policy paths toward 'sustainable development.' However, application of these concepts is hampered by serious interdisciplinary disagreements about the interactions of humans with their environment. Moreover, reducing disagreements about sustainability cannot be achieved solely through an improvement in scientific knowledge. These observations lead me to express skepticism about the capacity of any more or less mechanistic rule, economic, scientific or otherwise, to provide definitive and reliable answers about sustainable policies or conduct. However, there are processes and procedures that can help guide decisionmaking. I underscore the need for a methodologically pluralistic approach to addressing sustainability issues, while also underscoring the importance of addressing economic costs and benefits as one critical element of sustainability assessment. Practitioners of cost-benefit analysis are increasingly recognizing the need for embedding their findings in a broader set of information. A pluralistic approach, without mechanistic decision rules, only increases the need to have greater quantity and maturity of political discussion and education about sustainability than seems often to prevail.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-98-39.
Date of creation: 01 Jun 1998
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Common, Mick & Perrings, Charles, 1992. "Towards an ecological economics of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 7-34, July.
- Solow, Robert M, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 141-49.
- Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
- Kneese, Allen V. & Schulze, William D., 1985. "Ethics and environmental economics," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 191-220 Elsevier.
- Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, Nick, 1995.
"Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation,"
Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 191-208, March.
- Nick Hanley & Clive L Spash, 1993. "Preferences, Information and Biodiversity Preservation," Working Papers Series 93/12, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
- Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, N, 1994. "Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation," MPRA Paper 38351, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C.S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Mäler, Karl-Göran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1996.
"Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment,"
Environment and Development Economics,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 104-110, February.
- Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C. S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Maler, Karl-Goran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 91-95, November.
- Bryan G. Norton & Michael A. Toman, 1997. "Sustainability: Ecological and Economic Perspectives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 553-568.
- Bryan Norton, 1992. "Sustainability, human welfare and ecosystem health," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 1(2), pages 97-111, May.
- Stern, David I., 1997. "Limits to substitution and irreversibility in production and consumption: A neoclassical interpretation of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 197-215, June.
- Woodward, Richard T. & Bishop, Richard C., 1995. "Efficiency, sustainability and global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 101-111, August.
- Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-54, Summer.
- Costanza, Robert, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 89-90, November.
- Lutter, Randall & Morrall, John F, III, 1994. "Health-Health Analysis: A New Way to Evaluate Health and Safety Regulation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 43-66, January.
- Daly, Herman E., 1990. "Toward some operational principles of sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6, April.
- Colin F. Camerer & Howard Kunreuther, 1989. "Decision processes for low probability events: Policy implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 565-592.
- Karen Palmer & Wallace E. Oates & Paul R. Portney, 1995. "Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 119-132, Fall.
- Munda, Giuseppe, 1996. "Cost-benefit analysis in integrated environmental assessment: some methodological issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 157-168, November.
- Pearce, David W. & Atkinson, Giles D., 1993. "Capital theory and the measurement of sustainable development: an indicator of "weak" sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 103-108, October.
- Horowitz, John K., 1996. "Environmental policy under a non-market discount rate," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 73-78, January.
- Michael A. Toman, 1994. "Economics and "Sustainability": Balancing Trade-Offs and Imperatives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(4), pages 399-413.
- Toman, Michael, 1998. "SPECIAL SECTION: FORUM ON VALUATION OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Why not to calculate the value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 57-60, April.
- Salvador del Saz, 2008. "Medio ambiente y desarrollo: una revisión conceptual," CIRIEC-España, revista de economía pública, social y cooperativa, CIRIEC-España, issue 61, pages 31-49, August.
- Strijker, Dirk & Sijtsma, F.J. & Bettels, K., 2000. "Evaluating Nature Conservation: The Case of Meadow Birds in The Netherlands," Agricultural Economics Review, Greek Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 1(2), August.
- Michael Toman, 1998.
"Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change,"
Environmental & Resource Economics,
European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 603-621, April.
- Toman, Michael, 1998. "Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-98-32, Resources For the Future.
- Moran, Dominic & McVittie, Alistair & Allcroft, David J. & Elston, David A., 2007. "Quantifying public preferences for agri-environmental policy in Scotland: A comparison of methods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 42-53, June.
- Basil M. H. Sharp, 2001. "Sustainable Development: Environment and Economic Framework Integration," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/27, New Zealand Treasury.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.