Can public participation help managing risks from natural hazards?

Cathérine Gamper, Catrinel Turcanu, Benny Carlé, Erik Laes

    Research outputpeer-review


    Most of the mitigation measures against natural hazards can not be perfectly allocated via the common market mechanism, given their principle character of being a public good. Thus, different instruments need to be applied to retrieve their values. Economic valuation tools are one alternative to estimate preferences of individuals towards these goods. These methods are often difficult to operationalise and are not a feasible task for every single project. An alternative is offered by direct preference representation through involving affected interest groups actively in decisions. A critical question is whether the decision on protection measures can be left to public participation or should remain in the experts’ decision responsibility. It can be observed that the latter mode shows inefficiencies. In this paper it is argued that participation might be one way to bring about the desired goal of increasing efficiency. The present work offers a discussion of the relevant political economic concepts in order to introduce the idea that participation can increase efficiency through achieving the Pareto criterion claimed in the realm of constitutional economics. Furthermore it will be shown that decision aiding tools, namely multi-criteria analysis, can integrate participation into actual decision making processes in a structured way.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)522-528
    JournalSafety Science
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 2009

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