Chapter 11: Dynamics of rules and resources: three new field experiments on water, forests and fisheries
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The last few decades have witnessed an increase in the use of experiments for the study of various environmental and natural resource phenomena (Sturm and Weimann, 2006; Cherry et al., 2007). Much of this work involves a better understanding of the behavioral foundations of decision-making when facing environmental externalities and uncertainties, and a more careful understanding of how incentives and institutions affect such decisions and their environmental outcomes. In one area of work, several economists and psychologists have made significant contributions to the study of how behavioral particularities of humans may affect society’s value of resources and the environment. A vast literature has studied the problems of biases involved in economic valuation studies, and thanks to behavioral approaches and experimental techniques, better explanations and calibration methods now exist to improve these valuations thanks to seminal works by Kahneman, Tversky and co-authors (see Kahnemann et al., 1990; and Horowitz and McConnell, 2002). We now know better about discounting future benefits and costs within alternative behavioral approaches, or the valuation of environmental losses as opposed to environmental gains (see Shogren, 2004 for a survey) and the risk attitudes towards uncertain outcomes, including environmental risks.

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