Towards Better Decision-Making
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Pietro Caratti, Holger Dalkmann and Rodrigo Jiliberto
* Måns Nilsson and Rodrigo Jiliberto 3.1 INTRODUCTION Despite the central importance of the decision-making context for the performance of environmental assessment (EA),1 few researchers have attempted to relate EA to decision-making theory. Recent experiences in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), have revealed an increasing complexity and variation in the characteristics of the decision-making processes, compared to applications of project-level EIA. This has resulted in very mixed results for the EA itself and has highlighted the need to understand the role of EA in different decision contexts. This chapter will examine some different theoretical perspectives on decision making, discuss some concepts in current decision research and draw out some implications for environmental assessment, which form a basis for the ANSEA approach within a general decision-making perspective. Finally, it tries to build a link between these new concepts and the assessment approach to decision theory. It is a brief attempt to show why and how environmental assessment and decision theory (policy analysis) are connected in the ANSEA approach. 3.2 DECISION-MAKING SCIENCES The systematic study of decision-making processes is a relatively new discipline, usually named decision science, decision-making theory, behavioural decision research, or decision analysis. Closely related to decision-making theories, or perhaps a particular subset of them, are the methodologies and theories of policy analysis and of planning theory. Policy analysis aims at creating, critically assessing and communicating policyrelevant knowledge (Dunn 1994). Decision-making theory is usually said to examine the paradigm in which a decision maker (individual or unit) * Parts of this...
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