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Safe Minimum Standards in Dynamic Resource Problems—Conditions for Living on the Edge of Risk

  • Margolis, Michael
  • Naevdal, Eric

Abstract Safe Minimum Standards (SMSs) have been advocated as a policy rule for environmental problems where uncertainty about risks and consequences are thought to be profound. This paper explores the rationale for such a policy within a dynamic framework and derives conditions for when SMS can be summarily dismissed as a policy choice and for when SMS can be defended as an optimal policy based on standard economic criteria. We have determined that these conditions can be checked with quite limited information about damages and risks. In order to analyze the SMSs in a dynamic setting, we have developed a method for solving optimal control problems where the state space is divided into risky and non-risky subsets.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-04-03.

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Date of creation: 02 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-03
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  1. Palmini, Dennis, 1999. "Uncertainty, risk aversion, and the game theoretic foundations of the safe minimum standard: a reassessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 463-472, June.
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  7. Eric N�vdal, 2001. "Optimal Regulation of Eutrophying Lakes, Fjords, and Rivers in the Presence of Threshold Effects," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 972-984.
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  10. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Klibanoff, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2000. "Maxmin expected utility through statewise combinations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 49-54, January.
  11. Tsur Yacov & Zemel Amos, 1995. "Uncertainty and Irreversibility in Groundwater Resource Management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 149-161, September.
  12. Cropper, M. L., 1976. "Regulating activities with catastrophic environmental effects," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-15, June.
  13. Richard T. Woodward & Richard C. Bishop, 1997. "How to Decide When Experts Disagree: Uncertainty-Based Choice Rules in Environmental Policy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 492-507.
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