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

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  • Tania Bouglet
  • Thomas Lanzi
  • Jean-Christophe Vergnaud

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tania Bouglet & Thomas Lanzi & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2006. "Incertitude scientifique et décision publique : le recours au Principe de pré-caution," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 72(2), pages 109-127.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_722_0109
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Claude Henry & Marc Henry, 2002. "Formalization and applications of the Precautionary Principle," Working Papers hal-00243001, HAL.
    2. Christian Gollier, 2001. "Should we beware of the Precautionary Principle?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(33), pages 301-328, October.
    3. Gajdos, Thibault & Tallon, Jean-Marc & Vergnaud, Jean-Christophe, 2004. "Decision making with imprecise probabilistic information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 647-681, September.
    4. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-824, December.
    5. 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.
    6. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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