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Incertitude scientifique et décision publique : le recours au Principe de pré-caution

  • Tania Bouglet
  • Thomas Lanzi
  • Jean-Christophe Vergnaud

In this paper, we formalize two criteria of decisions which try to convey two different interpretations of the Precautionary principle. The first criterion corresponds to the maximization of the minimum of the expected utility whereas the second criterion corresponds to the minimization of the maximum of the regret expectation. We apply those two criteria in an economic problem where uncertainty is assessed by a family of probabilities. We show that there is a distance of probabilities for which the choices induced by the two criteria are different. Especially, we show that in this case, the second criterion always induces the more cautious decision contrary to the first criterion, decisions are the same elsewhere.

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Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Recherches économiques de Louvain.

Volume (Year): 72 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 109-127

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Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_722_0109
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  1. Christian Gollier, 2001. "Should we beware of the Precautionary Principle?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(33), pages 301-328, October.
  2. Claude Henry & Marc Henry, 2002. "Formalization and applications of the Precautionary Principle," Working Papers hal-00243001, HAL.
  3. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
  4. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  5. Thibault Gajdos & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2002. "Decision Making with Imprecise Probabilistic Information," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 18-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research, revised May 2003.
  6. Morgane Chevé & Ronan Congar, 2003. "La gestion des risques environnementaux en présence d'incertitudes et de controverses scientifiques. Une interprétation du principe de précaution," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(6), pages 1335-1352.
  7. 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.
  8. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1987. "Some implications of a more general form of regret theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 270-287, April.
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