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Should Preferences Count?

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  • Mark Sagoff

Abstract

As a normative discipline, welfare and therefore resource economics postulates that preferences should count in the allocation of resources. This postulate cannot be justified in relation to choice or to well-being. The normative qualities that attend choices-e.g., accountability, responsibility, commitment, and consent-explain why choices should count, but not preferences, which are not actions but theoretical entities constructed ad hoc from stipulated descriptions of behavior they are then said to explain. The satisfaction of preferences, moreover, has no demonstrable relation with any conception of welfare or well-being not simply defined in terms of it.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Sagoff, 1994. "Should Preferences Count?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(2), pages 127-144.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:70:y:1994:i:2:p:127-144
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    Cited by:

    1. Swallow, Stephen K., 1996. "Economic Issues in Ecosystem Management: An Introduction and Overview," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(02), pages 83-100, October.
    2. Andrew Mill, Greig & van Rensburg, Tom M. & Hynes, Stephen & Dooley, Conor, 2007. "Preferences for multiple use forest management in Ireland: Citizen and consumer perpectives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 642-653, January.
    3. Gregory, Robin & Slovic, Paul, 1997. "A constructive approach to environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 175-181, June.
    4. Richard Carson & Nicholas Flores & Norman Meade, 2001. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 173-210, June.
    5. Richard T. Carson, 2011. "Contingent Valuation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2489.
    6. Straton, Anna, 2006. "A complex systems approach to the value of ecological resources," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 402-411, March.
    7. Krausse, Michael & Alexander, Robert R., 1999. "Valuing Indigenous Biodiversity," 1999 Conference (43th), January 20-22, 1999, Christchurch, New Zealand 123828, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    8. Murray A. Rudd, 2015. "Awareness of Humanities, Arts and Social Science (HASS) Research Is Related to Patterns of Citizens’ Community and Cultural Engagement," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, April.
    9. Mann, Stefan, 2003. "Die Expertenbewertung als Alternative zur Kontingenzbewertung," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 52(8).
    10. O'Connor, Martin, 2000. "Pathways for environmental evaluation: a walk in the (Hanging) Gardens of Babylon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 175-193, August.
    11. Eggert, Håkan & Kataria, Mitesh & Lampi, Elina, 2016. "Difference in Preferences or in Preference Orderings? Comparing Choices of Environmental Bureaucrats, Recreational Anglers, and the Public," Working Papers in Economics 669, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    12. Sagoff, M., 1998. "Aggregation and deliberation in valuing environmental public goods:: A look beyond contingent pricing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 213-230, February.
    13. Bromley, Daniel W., 1995. "Property rights and natural resource damage assessments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 129-135, August.
    14. Holstein, Fredrik, 2009. "Environmental values - what’s the point?," Department of Economics publications 2205, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
    15. Richard Bennett & Douglas Larson, 1996. "Contingent Valuation Of The Perceived Benefits Of Farm Animal Welfare Legislation: An Exploratory Survey," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1-4), pages 224-235.
    16. Lazaro, Angelina & Barberan, Ramon & Rubio, Encarnacion, 2002. "The discounted utility model and social preferences:: Some alternative formulations to conventional discounting," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 317-337, June.
    17. Franco, Daniel, 2012. "Beni comuni, beni pubblici e risorse ambientali: il ruolo dell’azione collettiva
      [Public goods, common goods and natural resources: the role of the collective action]
      ," MPRA Paper 52357, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2012.
    18. Berrens, Robert P. & Bohara, Alok K. & Jenkins-Smith, Hank & Silva, Carol L. & Ganderton, Philip & Brookshire, David, 1998. "A joint investigation of public support and public values: case of instream flows in New Mexico," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 189-203, November.
    19. Daniel McKenney, 1998. "Resource Economists Should Do More Cost Analysis and Less Benefit Analysis," Working Papers in Ecological Economics 9801, Australian National University, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Ecological Economics Program.
    20. Gowdy, John & Rosser, J. Barkley & Roy, Loraine, 2013. "The evolution of hyperbolic discounting: Implications for truly social valuation of the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages 94-104.
    21. van Rensburg, Tom M. & Mill, Greig A. & Common, Mick & Lovett, Jon, 2002. "Preferences and multiple use forest management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2-3), pages 231-244, December.
    22. Hampicke, Ulrich, 2003. "Die monetäre Bewertung von Naturgütern zwischen ökonomischer Theorie und politischer Umsetzung," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 52(8).
    23. Alan Randall, 1997. "Whose Losses Count? Examining Some Claims About Aggregation Rules For Natural Resources Damages," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(4), pages 88-97, October.
    24. Kataria, Mitesh, 2007. "Environmental valuation, ecosystem services and aquatic species," Department of Economics publications 1437, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
    25. Ojea, Elena & Loureiro, Maria L., 2007. "Altruistic, egoistic and biospheric values in willingness to pay (WTP) for wildlife," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 807-814, September.

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