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Formalization and Applications of the Precuationary Principle

  • Claude HENRY

    (Laboratoire d’Econométrie, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

  • Marc HENRY

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Depertment of Economics, Columbia University, New York)

A formalization of the Precuationary Principle is given here: We formalize scientific knowledge on the likelihood of events in the state space and the concepts of scientifically unambiguous events and acts. We gie a definition of non-precautionary social planner as a Savage Expected Utility maximizer who evaluates acts relativ to a baseline, called “business as usual”, and who disregards scientifically ambguous acts, and we show that, for a wide class of preferences for the representative agent, non-r-precautionary decision making is sub-optimal. A discussion of this formalization is given in the context of national and international debates on Precaution, in the fields of Climate Change, of WTO arbitrages, and of the safety regulations of chemical products.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2002009.

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Length: 19
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2002009
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  1. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2000. "Risk, Ambigity and the Separation of Utility and Beliefs," Working Papers 1085, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  3. Epstein, Larry G, 1980. "Decision Making and the Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(2), pages 269-83, June.
  4. Timothy O'Riordan & Andrew Jordan, 1995. "The Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Environmental Politics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 4(3), pages 191-212, August.
  5. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Peter Klibanoff & Emre Ozdenoren, 1998. "Maximum Expected Utility over Savage Acts with a Set of Priors," Discussion Papers 1218, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Global Environmental Risks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 65-86, Fall.
  7. Massimiliano Amarante, 2005. "Ambiguity, measurability and multiple priors," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 995-1006, November.
  8. Pindyck, Robert, 1989. "Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 294, The World Bank.
  9. Sarin, Rakesh K & Wakker, Peter, 1992. "A Simple Axiomatization of Nonadditive Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1255-72, November.
  10. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
  13. Cohen, M. & Tallon, J.M., 1999. "Decision dans le risque et l'incertitude:l'apport des modeles non additifs," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 1999.69, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  14. Epstein, Larry G & Zhang, Jiankang, 2001. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectively Unambiguous Events," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 265-306, March.
  15. Epstein, L.G. & Zhang, J., 1998. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectivity Unambiguous Event," RCER Working Papers 456, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  16. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1997. "Global Warming, Irreversibility and Learning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 636-50, May.
  17. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
  18. Olivier Godard, 2005. "The precautionary principle. Between social norms and economic constructs," Working Papers hal-00243008, HAL.
  19. Adriana Castaldo & Massimo Marinacci, 2001. "Random correspndences as bundles of random variables," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 12-2001, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  20. Chichilnisky, G. & Heal, G., 1993. "Global Environmental Risks," Discussion Papers 1993_03, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
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