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La gestion des risques environnementaux en présence d'incertitudes et de controverses scientifiques. Une interprétation du principe de précaution

Listed author(s):
  • Morgane Chevé
  • Ronan Congar

In this paper, we will re-examine the problems linked to the management of environmental risks and reassert the distinction made by Knight [1921] between « risk » and « uncertainty ». Taking into account this uncertainty in a formal way is totally justified for the analysis of environmental problems for which scientific certainties are often lacking. Furthermore, this enables us to give an account of a number of major characteristics affecting decision-making in the environmental field that is to say : scientific controversy, disagreements and conflicts between the stakeholders and difficulties in making decisions commensurate with the stakes involved. Last but not least, stating that uncertainty plays an essential part enables us to work out a framework for analysis in which we suggest an economic interpretation of the precautionary principle. Then we can justify the adoption of the maximum of minimum expected utility criterion in order to make decisions complying with the precautionary principle. Classification JEL : D7, D81, K32, Q2.

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Article provided by Presses de Sciences-Po in its journal Revue économique.

Volume (Year): 54 (2003)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1335-1352

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Handle: RePEc:cai:recosp:reco_546_1335
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