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The choice on sustainability: information or the meta-SWF approach to a shift of preferences (with some corrections)


  • Thomas Cool

    (Consultancy & Econometrics)


If an economic system has a regime switch, then we could assume that the preferences have remained basically the same, but that only the state of information has changed. An alternative view is that there has been a shift of preferences, as for example individual persons can change their mind too. Economic theory needs the concept of a 'meta social welfare function' (meta-SWF) in order to explain switches in preference regimes. Hueting's argument on the switch in environmental policy from laissez faire to sustainability is an interesting example for this argument. (With corrected explanation of Hueting's sustainability graph.)

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Cool, 2000. "The choice on sustainability: information or the meta-SWF approach to a shift of preferences (with some corrections)," Others 0004004, EconWPA, revised 21 Jun 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0004004
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    JEL classification:

    • A00 - General Economics and Teaching - - General - - - General
    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General

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