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http://ssrn.com/abstract=844444
 
 

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The Availability Heuristic, Intuitive Cost-Benefit Analysis, and Climate Change


Cass R. Sunstein


Harvard Law School

November 2005

U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 263

Abstract:     
Because risks are on all sides of social situations, it is not possible to be "precautionary" in general. The availability heuristic ensures that some risks stand out as particularly salient, whatever their actual magnitude. Taken together with intuitive cost-benefit balancing, the availability heuristic helps to explain differences across groups, cultures, and even nations in the assessment of precautions to reduce the risks associated with climate change. There are complex links among availability, social processes for the spreading of information, and predispositions. If the United States is to take a stronger stand against climate change, it is likely to be a result of available incidents that seem to show that climate change produces serious and tangible harm.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

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Date posted: November 9, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., The Availability Heuristic, Intuitive Cost-Benefit Analysis, and Climate Change (November 2005). U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 263. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=844444 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.844444

Contact Information

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)
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