Economics, Climate, and Values: An Integrated Approach

6 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011  

Julie A. Nelson

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

Evelyn Fox Keller

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

How can we integrate the role of values and ethics in economic analysis of climate change without sacrificing the positive aspirations of that science? Given the urgency of the measures required by climate change, economic analysis has never been as important as it is today. And given the necessity of value judgments in economic analyses of policy options, the tension between fact and value has never been more conspicuous. But while significant strides have recently been made in the understanding of both the inadequacy and impracticality of a fact/value dichotomy in scientific research, many in economics seem to continue to adhere to outmoded (and now clearly inappropriate) images of science. The net effect has been to undermine the usefulness of economic advice to policy makers.

The ideal of objectivity to which economists aspire needs to be reframed and broadened in ways that take advantage of new resources from the philosophy of science, environmental philosophy, and other social sciences. Ultimately, changes in the education of young economists, as well as in patterns of support for practicing economists will be necessary to effect a shift to an ideal of objectivity in which the role of values can be properly integrated.

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Julie A. and Keller, Evelyn Fox, Economics, Climate, and Values: An Integrated Approach (2010). American Economic Association, Ten Years and Beyond: Economists Answer NSF's Call for Long-Term Research Agendas. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1889348 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1889348

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

Evelyn Fox Keller

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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