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An institutional analysis of methods for environmental appraisal

  • Vatn, Arild
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    This paper focuses on a set of issues when choosing between methods for environmental appraisal. Approaches like cost benefit analysis/contingent valuation, multicriteria analysis and deliberative methods are based on very different assumptions concerning the characteristics of environmental resources, the capacities of the individuals involved and the role the methods play in framing the process. The present paper views environmental appraisal methods as institutional structures. They are seen as rules concerning a) who should participate and in which capacity, b) what is considered data and which form data should take, and c) rules about how a conclusion is reached. Specifically, the choice of method defines the logic of the appraisal process and next influences the output. While cost benefit analysis is based on the assumption of individual rationality, deliberative methods assume that individuals can act according to social rationality. The first part of the paper is devoted to clarifying what institutions are and their role in the valuation process. Second, the main features of environmental or ecosystem services and the demands they raise for decision-making are described. A general framework for evaluating appraisal methods is then developed. Finally, this structure is elaborated in more detail as a basis for deciding over the choices of methods in the case of evaluating ecosystem services. A set of unresolved issues are identified -- especially related to how the choice of appraisal methods themselves should be instituted.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 8-9 (June)
    Pages: 2207-2215

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:8-9:p:2207-2215
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
    2. Arild Vatn, 2004. "Environmental Valuation and Rationality," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(1), pages 1-18.
    3. Vatn Arild & Bromley Daniel W., 1994. "Choices without Prices without Apologies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 129-148, March.
    4. John O'Neill, 2001. "Representing people, representing nature, representing the world," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 19(4), pages 483-500, August.
    5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521425230 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Vatn, Arild, 2009. "Cooperative behavior and institutions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 188-196, January.
    7. Simon, Herbert A., 1978. "Rational Decision-Making in Business Organizations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1978-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    8. Richard B. Howarth & Matthew A. Wilson, 2006. "A Theoretical Approach to Deliberative Valuation: Aggregation by Mutual Consent," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-16.
    9. Clive L. Spash, 1999. "The Development of Environmental Thinking in Economics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 8(4), pages 413-435, November.
    10. Simon Joss, 1998. "Danish consensus conferences as a model of participatory technology assessment: An impact study of consensus conferences on Danish Parliament and Danish public debate," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 2-22, February.
    11. Sunstein, Cass R, 1993. "Endogenous Preferences, Environmental Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 217-54, June.
    12. Luigi Pellizzoni, 2003. "Uncertainty and Participatory Democracy," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 12(2), pages 195-224, May.
    13. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
    14. Talbot Page, 1997. "On the Problem of Achieving Efficiency and Equity, Intergenerationally," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 580-596.
    15. Giuseppe Munda, 2003. "Social Multi-Criteria Evaluation (SMCE)," UHE Working papers 2003_04, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    16. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521415019 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Romp, Graham, 1997. "Game Theory: Introduction and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198775027, March.
    18. Arild Vatn, 2000. "The Environment as a Commodity," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 9(4), pages 493-509, November.
    19. Vatn, Arild, 2005. "Rationality, institutions and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 203-217, November.
    20. Spash, Clive L., 2007. "Deliberative monetary valuation (DMV): Issues in combining economic and political processes to value environmental change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 690-699, September.
    21. Gintis, Herbert, 2000. "Beyond Homo economicus: evidence from experimental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 311-322, December.
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