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Fairness Concerns in Environmental Economics - Do They Really Matter and If So How?

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  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

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

  • Konow, James

    (Department of Economics, Loyola Marymount University)

Abstract

Are fairness concerns of relevance to environmental economics and, if so, are they sufficiently structured to improve analysis in this field? On both of these questions, we answer in the affirmative, arguing that people’s fairness views are based on both general rules and the context, where context refers to the set of variables and persons employed to interpret and apply the principles. The fairness rules analyzed are accountability (i.e., rewards that are proportional to contributions individuals control), efficiency, need and equality. We conclude that stakeholders typically exhibit a “fairness bias”, i.e., they tend, consciously or not, to interpret and apply fairness principles in a self-serving manner, whereas the views of spectators, or impartial third parties, tend to converge significantly more. Further, we argue that fairness considerations are relevant to both descriptive and prescriptive analysis in environmental economics. These fairness concerns are reflected in the behavior of private and public decision-makers and have potentially important policy implications through the overall social objective function.

Suggested Citation

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Konow, James, 2009. "Fairness Concerns in Environmental Economics - Do They Really Matter and If So How?," Working Papers in Economics 398, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0398
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/21425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Konow, James, 2001. "Fair and square: the four sides of distributive justice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-164, October.
    2. Ruffle, Bradley J. & Sosis, Richard, 2006. "Cooperation and the in-group-out-group bias: A field test on Israeli kibbutz members and city residents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 147-163, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Wolfgang Luhan & Martin Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Group polarization in the team dictator game reconsidered," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 26-41, March.
    5. Andreas Lange, 2006. "The Impact of Equity-preferences on the Stability of International Environmental Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 34(2), pages 247-267, June.
    6. Dale Stahl & Ernan Haruvy, 2009. "Testing theories of behavior for extensive-form two-player two-stage games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 242-251, June.
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    9. Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2000. "On the Value of Life in Rich and Poor Countries and Distributional Weights Beyond Utilitarianism," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(3), pages 299-310, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schilizzi, Steven, 2011. "Equity judgments and context dependence: Knowledge, efficiency and incentives," Working Papers 100887, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Justice; Fairness rules; accountability; equity theory; environmental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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