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Scientific Numerology, Preference Anomalies, and Environmental Policymaking

  • John List

    ()

Recently an abundance of experimental evidence has been gathered that is consonant with the notion that individual preferences are inconsistent and unstable. These empirical results potentially undermine the theoretical foundation of welfare economics, as the degree of preference lability claimed suggests that perhaps no optimization principles underlie even the most straightforward of choices. Yet policymakers in the environmental arena continue to prescribe policies based on economics-based methods that are constructed on the very principles that have been directly refuted. Are policymakers creatures of habit that move at glacial speed or is there something deeper behind their inertness? In this study, I explore this issue within the U.S. context and argue that there is some rationality behind current public policy decisionmaking. I then explore whether the empirical evidence supports the view that policymakers should take preference anomalies seriously. As a case study, I focus on some of my recent findings on preference inconsistencies in the marketplace. Copyright Springer 2005

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-005-6027-1
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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (09)
Pages: 35-53

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:32:y:2005:i:1:p:35-53
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

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  1. John A. List, 2006. "Using Hicksian Surplus Measures to Examine Consistency of Individual Preferences: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 115-134, 03.
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