Economists, Value Judgments, and Climate Change: A View from Feminist Economics
Julie A. Nelson
University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics; Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute
Global Development and Environment Institute Working Paper No. 07-03
Ecological Economics, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2008
A number of recent discussions about ethical issues in climate change, as engaged in by economists, have focused on the value of the parameter representing the rate of time preference within models of optimal growth. This essay examines many economists' antipathy to serious discussion of ethical matters, and suggests that the avoidance of questions of intergenerational equity is related to another set of value judgments concerning the quality and objectivity of economic practice. Using insights from feminist philosophy of science and research on high reliability organizations, this essay argues that a more ethically transparent, real-world-oriented, and flexible economic practice would lead to more strongly objective, reliable, and useful knowledge.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: ethics, environment, methodology, feminist economics, climate change, intergenerational equity, optimal growth models, discount rate, high-reliability organizations
JEL Classification: A12, A13, B4, D9, Q3
Date posted: November 15, 2007 ; Last revised: May 12, 2008
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