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The precautionary principle. Between social norms and economic constructs

  • Olivier Godard

    (CECO - Laboratoire d'econometrie de l'école polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7657 - Polytechnique - X)

Cet article confronte les interprétations proposées pour le principe de précaution qui viennent de deux horizons différents : les théories économiques du risque qui s'inscrivent dans un cadre bayésien et les repères heuristiques de la doctrine validée par les institutions européennes et françaises. Les traits communs sont mis en évidence, mais aussi d'importantes différences quant aux concepts et aux contextes d'application. Malgré ces différences, l'analyse économique propose des éclairages utiles sur plusieurs questions controversées soulevées par la mise en œuvre du principe de précaution comme norme sociale. Cela concerne par exemple la réversibilité des mesures de précaution, la question de l'application directe du principe à toute personne ou aux seules autorités publiques et le problème de l'imputation de la charge de l'instruction scientifique des hypothèses de risque.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00243008.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00243008
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  1. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  2. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-38, June.
  3. Alban Richard & Michel Trommetter, 2001. "Les caractéristiques d'une décision séquentielle. Effet irréversibilité et endogénéisation de l'environnement," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 52(3), pages 739-752.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke, 1980. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," NBER Working Papers 0502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Grubb, Michael & Chapuis, Thierry & Duong, Minh Ha, 1995. "The economics of changing course : Implications of adaptability and inertia for optimal climate policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 417-431.
  7. Minh Ha-Duong & Michael Grubb & Jean-Charles Hourcade, 1997. "Influence of socioeconomic inertia and uncertainty on optimal CO2-emission abatement," Post-Print halshs-00002452, HAL.
  8. Hourcade, Jean-Charles & Salles, Jean-Michel & Thery, Daniel, 1992. "Ecological economics and scientific controversies. Lessons from some recent policy making in the EEC," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 211-233, December.
  9. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  10. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  11. Gollier, Christian & Treich, Nicolas, 2003. " Decision-Making under Scientific Uncertainty: The Economics of the Precautionary Principle," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 77-103, August.
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