Economics, Ethics, and Environmental Policy: Contested Choices

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Economics, Ethics, and Environmental Policy: Contested Choices offers a comprehensive analysis of the ethical problems associated with basing environmental policy on economic analysis, and ways to overcome these problems.
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About the author


Daniel W. Bromley is Anderson-Bascom Professor of Applied Economics in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written and edited numerous books including Sustaining Development (1999), The Handbook of Environmental Economics (1995), Making the Commons Work (1992), Environment and Economy (1991), and Economic Interests and Institutions (1989). He is also the editor of the journal Land Economics, the oldest and most distinguished international journal in environmental and natural resources economics.

Jouni Paavola is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) at the University of East Anglia and an Associate Fellow at the Oxford Centre for the Environment, Ethics, and Society (OCEES), Mansfield College, Oxford, UK. He has authored a number of publications on economics, ethics, and history of environmental policy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Apr 15, 2008
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780470692929
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Environmental Science
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In the standard analysis of economic institutions--which include social conventions, the working rules of an economy, and entitlement regimes (property relations)--economists invoke the same theories they use when analyzing individual behavior. In this profoundly innovative book, Daniel Bromley challenges these theories, arguing instead for "volitional pragmatism" as a plausible way of thinking about the evolution of economic institutions. Economies are always in the process of becoming. Here is a theory of how they become.

Bromley argues that standard economic accounts see institutions as mere constraints on otherwise autonomous individual action. Some approaches to institutional economics--particularly the "new" institutional economics--suggest that economic institutions emerge spontaneously from the voluntary interaction of economic agents as they go about pursuing their best advantage. He suggests that this approach misses the central fact that economic institutions are the explicit and intended result of authoritative agents--legislators, judges, administrative officers, heads of states, village leaders--who volitionally decide upon working rules and entitlement regimes whose very purpose is to induce behaviors (and hence plausible outcomes) that constitute the sufficient reasons for the institutional arrangements they create.


Bromley's approach avoids the prescriptive consequentialism of contemporary economics and asks, instead, that we see these emergent and evolving institutions as the reasons for the individual and aggregate behavior their very adoption anticipates. These hoped-for outcomes comprise sufficient reasons for new laws, judicial decrees, and administrative rulings, which then become instrumental to the realization of desired individual behaviors and thus aggregate outcomes.

In the standard analysis of economic institutions--which include social conventions, the working rules of an economy, and entitlement regimes (property relations)--economists invoke the same theories they use when analyzing individual behavior. In this profoundly innovative book, Daniel Bromley challenges these theories, arguing instead for "volitional pragmatism" as a plausible way of thinking about the evolution of economic institutions. Economies are always in the process of becoming. Here is a theory of how they become.

Bromley argues that standard economic accounts see institutions as mere constraints on otherwise autonomous individual action. Some approaches to institutional economics--particularly the "new" institutional economics--suggest that economic institutions emerge spontaneously from the voluntary interaction of economic agents as they go about pursuing their best advantage. He suggests that this approach misses the central fact that economic institutions are the explicit and intended result of authoritative agents--legislators, judges, administrative officers, heads of states, village leaders--who volitionally decide upon working rules and entitlement regimes whose very purpose is to induce behaviors (and hence plausible outcomes) that constitute the sufficient reasons for the institutional arrangements they create.


Bromley's approach avoids the prescriptive consequentialism of contemporary economics and asks, instead, that we see these emergent and evolving institutions as the reasons for the individual and aggregate behavior their very adoption anticipates. These hoped-for outcomes comprise sufficient reasons for new laws, judicial decrees, and administrative rulings, which then become instrumental to the realization of desired individual behaviors and thus aggregate outcomes.

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