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Precaution and the Precautionary Principle: two Australian case studies

Author

Listed:
  • Annette Weier
  • Paul Loke

    (Productivity Commission)

Abstract

The Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, ‘Precaution and the Precautionary Principle: two Australian case studies’ (by Annette Weier and Paul Loke), was released in September 2007. The Precautionary Principle was conceived as a response to the inherent difficulties faced by decision makers confronted with uncertain potential outcomes. Its purpose is to remove uncertainty as an obstacle to addressing potential environmental and health hazards. However, much confusion surrounds the Principle and its role in decision making under uncertainty. This paper examines two Australian case studies where precaution has been an important element in decision making — fisheries management and licensing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It considers three key issues: the basis for precautionary decision making; how precaution has been applied in practice; and whether (and how) the Precautionary Principle contributed to precautionary decision making. The views expressed in this paper are those of the staff involved and do not necessarily reflect those of the Productivity Commission. This paper develops further some themes initially canvassed in the Presidential Address to the 2006 Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society conference presented by Deborah Peterson, and subsequently published in the ‘Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics’.

Suggested Citation

  • Annette Weier & Paul Loke, 2007. "Precaution and the Precautionary Principle: two Australian case studies," Staff Working Papers 0705, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:prodsw:0705
    as

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    File URL: http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/67271/precautionaryprinciple.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Adamson, David & Cook, David, 2007. "Re-examining economic options for import risk assessments," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 149869, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    2. Binder, Monika, 2002. "The Role of Risk and Cost-Benefit Analysis in Determining Quarantine Measures," Staff Research Papers 31911, Productivity Commission.
    3. Sunstein Cass R., 2005. "The Precautionary Principle as a Basis for Decision Making," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-10, April.
    4. Linacre, Nicholas & Falck-Zepeda, José & Komen, John & MacLaren, Donald, 2006. "Risk assessment and management of genetically modified organisms under Australia's Gene Technology Act:," EPTD discussion papers 157, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. repec:reg:rpubli:201 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(4), December.
    7. James, Sallie & Anderson, Kym, 1998. "On the need for more economic assessment of quarantine/SPS policies," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 42(4), December.
    8. 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.
    9. Adamson, David & Cook, David C., 2007. "Re-examining the economic options for import risk assessments," 2007 Conference (51st), February 13-16, 2007, Queenstown, New Zealand 10365, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    10. Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," 2006 Conference (50th), February 8-10, 2006, Sydney, Australia 137764, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    11. Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," Conference/Workshop Proceedings 31906, Productivity Commission.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    precautionary principle; fisheries management; genetically modified organisms; GMOs;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics

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