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Dissent from choice theory: implications for environmental decision making

Luca Tacconi (University College, The University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 April 1996


Shows the importance of heeding Clem Tisdell’s call to devote attention to values and to consider further the limitations of unbounded rationality models in economic research. Outlines the implications of a criticism of choice theory for environmental decision‐making. The critics of positivist philosophy of science show that it is impossible to carry out any analysis without making value judgements. The economist cannot escape this neither in theoretical analyses nor in applied studies. In relation to Clem Tisdell’s call to consider values without pontificating on them, it is important to make two points. First, the analysts should state as clearly as possible the values that guide their specific analyses. Second, they could provide the decision makers with a range of options that depend on different stakeholders’ ethical positions. Describes elements of the participatory decision‐making process. It is noted that this approach to evaluation may enhance the rationality of the choices; better represent the values of the various stakeholders; and allow an improved interaction between individuals and institutions.



Tacconi, L. (1996), "Dissent from choice theory: implications for environmental decision making ", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 23 No. 4/5/6, pp. 331-345.




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