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Scientific progress and irreversibility : an economic interpretation of the Precautionary principle

  • Gollier

    (EXT)

  • Jullien

    (EXT)

  • Treich

    (Unité de recherche d'Économie et Sociologie Rurales, INRA)

Les auteurs cherchent à justifier le principe de précaution (Traité de Maastricht) qui veut que l'absence de certitudes, compte tenu des connaissances scientifiques du moment, ne retarde pas l'adoption de mesures de prévention des risques. Pour ce faire, ils considèrent le problème d'un bien dont la consommation peut s'avérer nuisible dans le long terme. L'intensité du dommage est incertaine. Elle dépend de la consommation totale du bien sur les périodes antérieures. Des progrès sont faits qui améliorent la connaissance sur la distribution du risque. Ils étudient sous quelles conditions la présence d'une incertitude plus grande sur la distribution des dommages potentiels réduit le niveau socialement efficace de consommation du bien. L'analyse a de nombreuses applications, comme le problème du réchauffement de la terre, la maladie de la vache folle, le drame de l'amiante ou le sang contaminé.

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Paper provided by Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France in its series Working Papers with number 156240.

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Length: 229-253
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics
Handle: RePEc:inr:wpaper:156240
Note: Egalement paru dans : INRA LEERNA Toulouse 1997 ; ERNA 97.2
Contact details of provider: Postal: 4, Allée Adolphe Bobierre, CS 61103, 35011 Rennes Cedex
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  1. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  2. 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.
  3. David M Kreps & Evan L Porteus, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000009, David K. Levine.
  4. Parkash Chander, 1998. "A Stronger Measure of Risk Aversion and a General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Economics Working Paper Archive 399, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  5. Dionne, Georges & Fombaron, Nathalie, 1996. "Non-convexities and the efficiency of equilibria in insurance markets with asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 31-40, July.
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  7. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-48, September.
  8. H. Landis Gabel & Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 1996. "Environmental Auditing in Management Systems and Public Policy," CIRANO Working Papers 96s-21, CIRANO.
  9. Alesina, Alberto F & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," CEPR Discussion Papers 269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
  11. Spence, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1972. "The Effect of the Timing of Consumption Decisions and the Resolution of Lotteries on the Choice of Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(2), pages 401-03, March.
  12. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Christopher D. Carroll & Miles S. Kimball, 1995. "On the Concavity of the Consumption Function," Macroeconomics 9503003, EconWPA.
  15. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  16. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  17. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Fundamental irreversibilities in stock externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 221-233, May.
  18. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1997. "Global Warming, Irreversibility and Learning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 636-50, May.
  19. Samuelson, Paul A, 1970. "The Fundamental Approximation Theorem of Portfolio Analysis in terms of Means, Variances, and Higher Moments," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 537-42, October.
  20. Asbjørn Torvanger, 1997. "Uncertain climate change in an intergenerational planning model," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(1), pages 103-124, January.
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