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Environmental Policy when People's Preferences are Inconsistent, Non-Welfaristic, or simply Not Developed

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

This paper discusses how a benevolent policy maker should act based on some, possibly non-welfaristic,ethical principle in cases where people's preferences are not perfectly informed,consistent and fully developed with regard to all goods, including all kinds of environmental goods, as is normally assumed in mainstream economic theory. When stated or revealed preferences do not reflect the maximization of individual welfare, it is argued that welfare,rather than preferences, has intrinsic value. However, it is also argued that properly designed stated preference methods may provide useful information about people’s views about alternative ethical ends, besides human well-being, and that policy makers should take such views seriously.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/gunwpe/papers/gunwpe0034.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 34.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 28 Feb 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0034
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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  1. Harsanyi, J.C., 1992. "Utilities, Preferences and Substantive Goods," Research Paper 101, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521644914 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Utility: Ideas and Terminology," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 277-283, October.
  4. Sen, Amartya K, 1979. "Personal Utilities and Public Judgements: Or What's Wrong with Welfare Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 537-58, September.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521642750 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Gregory, Robin & Lichtenstein, Sarah & Slovic, Paul, 1993. " Valuing Environmental Resources: A Constructive Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 177-97, October.
  7. Pollak, Robert A, 1998. "Imagined Risks and Cost-Benefit Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 376-80, May.
  8. Thomas H. Stevens & Jaime Echeverria & Ronald J. Glass & Tim Hager & Thomas A. More, 1991. "Measuring the Existence Value of Wildlife: What Do CVM Estimates Really Show?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 390-400.
  9. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
  10. 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.
  11. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  12. Gregory, Robin & Slovic, Paul, 1997. "A constructive approach to environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 175-181, June.
  13. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  14. Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, N, 1994. "Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation," MPRA Paper 38351, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Sen, Amartya, 1985. "Goals, Commitment, and Identity," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 341-55, Fall.
  16. Schkade David A. & Payne John W., 1994. "How People Respond to Contingent Valuation Questions: A Verbal Protocol Analysis of Willingness to Pay for an Environmental Regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 88-109, January.
  17. Tversky, Amos & Slovic, Paul & Kahneman, Daniel, 1990. "The Causes of Preference Reversal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 204-17, March.
  18. Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 133-141, Winter.
  19. Olof Johansson-Stenman, 1998. "The Importance of Ethics in Environmental Economics with a Focus on Existence Values," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 429-442, April.
  20. Yew-Kwang Ng, 1999. "Utility, informed preference, or happiness: Following Harsanyi's argument to its logical conclusion," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 197-216.
  21. Slovic, Paul & Lichtenstein, Sarah, 1983. "Preference Reversals: A Broader Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 596-605, September.
  22. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
  23. Onora O'Neill, 1997. "Environmental Values, Anthropocentrism and Speciesism," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 6(2), pages 127-142, May.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  27. Harrison, Glenn W., 1992. "Valuing public goods with the contingent valuation method: A critique of kahneman and knetsch," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 248-257, November.
  28. Paula E. Stephan, 1996. "The Economics of Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1199-1235, September.
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