Economists, Value Judgments, and Climate Change: A View from Feminist Economics

Global Development and Environment Institute Working Paper No. 07-03

Ecological Economics, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2008

17 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2007 Last revised: 12 May 2008

Julie A. Nelson

University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics; Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Julie A., Economists, Value Judgments, and Climate Change: A View from Feminist Economics (October 2007). ; Ecological Economics, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030106

Julie A. Nelson (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics ( email )

100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/dept/economics/faculty/facultyNelson.html

Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute ( email )

MA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/about_us/researchers.html#nelson

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