نوآوری های رفتاری: سرمایه از دست رفته در توسعه پایدار؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29468||2013||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8530 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 89, May 2013, Pages 187–195
Many scholars argue that environmental issues can be addressed through technological innovation, a proposal which echoes a lasting debate between environmental and ecological economics about the substitution rate between natural and manufactured capital. In addition to these two established types of capital, this paper introduces the idea of ‘behavioral capital’. We define behavioral capital as the latent potential of behavioral change to affect improvement in environmental quality. Our contribution argues that technological and traditional regulatory innovations serve as insufficient tools for addressing modern environmental issues and ensuring sustainable development. Without discarding these solutions, we contend that because human behavior is a significant contributor to environmental problems, it should be regarded as a key component of continued solutions. We suggest that the dual interest theory can serve as an integrative framework for behavioral innovations related to environmental issues. In suggesting this, we assume that behavioral innovations can both overcome some of the limitations of technological innovations and offer new solutions. Our main insight is to suggest that some depletion of natural capital – but not all – can be offset by behavioral changes without decreasing, or even increasing, subjective well-being.
During a severe famine in the late 18th century France, locals remained reluctant to eat potatoes despite having received encouraging messages about their edibility and nutritional benefits. In response to this crisis, a French pharmacist named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier strategically planted 100 acres of fallow land with potatoes and had royal soldiers stationed around it. However, he secretly ordered them not to protect the planted area, but to accept bribes to leave it unguarded. With their curiosity piqued by the presence of the guards, local residents took the bait, paying off soldiers to leave their posts in order to steal and eat the unguarded potatoes. This unconventional strategy effectively induced residents to eat the potatoes they had once refused. Our current environmental predicament is strangely reminiscent of the situation that Parmentier faced in 1785. The severity of modern environmental problems such as climate change, water shortages, and biodiversity losses contrasts sharply with the indifference, unresponsiveness, and even active denial of those culpable for the damage. Some argue that environmental issues can be addressed through technological innovation (Lomborg, 2009), a proposal which echoes a lasting debate between environmental and ecological economics about the substitution rate between natural and manufactured capital. While standard environmental economics accepts manufactured capital as a pure substitute for natural capital, ecological economics maintains that the existing stock of natural capital must not be depleted beyond a certain threshold. Accordingly, this minimum stock level must be maintained and perhaps even enhanced because the functions it performs cannot be replaced by manufactured capital.1 In addition to these two established types of capital, this paper introduces the idea of ‘behavioral capital’. We define behavioral capital as the latent potential of behavioral change to affect improvement in environmental quality. Our contribution, therefore, differs from that of most studies to date by arguing that technological and traditional regulatory innovations serve as insufficient tools for addressing modern environmental issues and ensuring sustainable development. Without discarding these solutions, we contend that because human behavior is a significant contributor to environmental problems, it should be regarded as a key component of continued solutions. In suggesting this, we assume that behavioral innovations can both overcome some of the limitations of technological innovations and offer new solutions. Our main insight is to suggest that some depletion of natural capital – though not all – can be offset by behavioral changes without decreasing, or even increasing, subjective well-being. Additionally, behavioral changes often prove to be less capital-intensive than technological innovations as a means of precipitating change (Allcott and Mullainathan, 2010). By its very nature, behavioral capital is centered on human behavior and can seem inconsistent with the non-anthropocentric ethics of the ecological economics paradigm. Nevertheless, considering human behavior as a powerful leverage to reach sustainable development goals does necessarily imply that we support nature as existing solely for the benefit of humans. Using behavioral capital is not inconsistent with considering the value of the environment per se, regardless of its human values. We contend that this perspective can contribute to adequate management of the environment for the environment's sake. The remainder of this discussion is organized as follows. In Section 2, we explain why technological change alone is not effective enough when human behavior is at the root of an environmental issue. Section 3 proposes some solutions offered by behavioral innovations and illustrates them using several micro-case studies and anecdotal evidence. We introduce the dual interest theory which can serve as an integrative framework for behavioral innovations related to environmental issues (Czap et al., 2012). Section 4 makes justice to the on-going discussion between neoclassical economists and behavioral economists and emphasizes some challenges faced by behavioral interventions. The final section (Section 5) extends this discussion by considering policy implications and by developing general conclusions. Throughout the article, some generalizable lessons are drawn from various studies.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
‘The main reason behavioral science should be part of the policy debate is that it provides in some cases a perspective that is vastly different from economics.’ (Amir et al., 2005) Behavior is often at the root of environmental issues, even in the presence of technological solutions. In this paper we contend that in some circumstances, behavioral innovations represent a cost-effective and under-exploited method by which to address these issues. Influencing behaviors in this way has the potential to result in better environmental outcomes at a lower cost compared to expensive research on technology, as we've seen in reducing energy consumption. However, a lack of unifying theory, coupled with the generally uncertain nature of psychological factors, has limited the usefulness of research to merely drafting strategies and raising questions regarding scalability of the discussed effects. The dual interest theory and metaeconomics approach constitute a promising candidate to synthesize behavioral anomalies related to environmental issues within a consistent framework. This approach offers a refreshing way to analyze individuals' decisions regarding environmental issues without negating the self-interest component but by complementing it. Despite recent contributions in this domain, a lot of work remains to be done. Behavioral findings can understand how individuals make their decisions and inform public policy in the environmental domain in several ways. In a recent project, the OECD environment directorate states that behavioral economics can improve benefit–cost analysis through methodological adjustments to nonmarket valuation techniques and the development of policy mechanisms to influence environmental behavior. For instance, recent advances in risk perceptions, loss aversion and hyperbolic discounting have important implications for benefit–cost analysis and can strongly influence related decisions (Brown and Hagen, 2010 and Shogren and Taylor, 2008). Of course, a prerequisite for invoking the behavioral change solution is either negligible transaction costs or exorbitant transaction costs of an alternative outcome (Coase, 1960). Coase (1960) stated that “all solutions have costs and there is no reason to suppose that government regulation is called for simply because the problem is not well handled by the market or the firm.” Behavioral-based interventions are not immune to transaction costs and fulfillment of promises depends on the ability to keep transaction costs sufficiently low in comparison to alternatives. For instance, Shogren (2012) suggests several directions where behavioral insights can help to decrease transaction costs and ease the use of Coasean bargaining. Moreover, behavioral changes extend ‘the richness of social alternatives among which we can choose’ (Coase, 1974). A coasean analysis frequently assumes that agents' preferences are given while behavioral sciences show that preferences are context-dependent. Interventions can change preferences and subsequently changing preferences can become in some situations the least-cost way of reducing harm. For instance, in order to fight global warming, several alternatives can be considered such as government regulation, Coasean bargaining, laissez faire but also encouraging people to adopting a vegetarian diet. There is a clear need to examine the implications of behavioral changes on the transaction costs in comparison to other kinds of interventions but addressing adequately this issue is beyond the scope of our contribution. In a different vein, neoclassical economics traditionally suggests policy instruments in order to reduce undesirable behavior such as quotas, taxes and tradable permits. While neoclassical economics typically assumes that the selection of the relevant instrument lies in economic and administrative efficiency, psychologists contend that policy measures impact the way in which people consider the environmental good to be conserved (OECD, 2012). Recent models of moral decision-making suggest that because of the complex interferences with moral motivations, performances of policy instruments depend on how those instruments are perceived by regulated entities (Frey, 1999 and Nyborg, 1999). Rather than suggesting a substitution between traditional interventions and behavioral ones (Loewenstein and Ubel, 2010), we argue that insights from behavioral economics can help to increase the effectiveness of traditional interventions (Pollitt and Shaorshadze, forthcoming). Experimental methods in the laboratory and in the field can contribute to policy design. Indeed, experimental methods constitute a useful testbed for alternative institutions in order to provide evidence of success before actual implementation, especially in the context of developing countries. In a recent paper devoted to the role that the experimental method and mindset can play in environment and development economics, Ehmke and Shogren (2008) state that ‘the relative benefits of using experiments for resource policy in developing countries may even be greater than in the developed world. Due to the low capital resource constraints, the rewards may be significant in using cost-effective experimental research relative to pilot projects’ (see also Shogren, 2012). Without negating technological innovations, we highly recommend that policy-makers and research funders divert some resources to design, test, and promote behavioral interventions. As magnified by some described initiatives, solutions frequently require a mix of different types of capitals, namely built capital, human capital, social capital, natural capital and… behavioral capital. We believe that behavioral innovations can change the traditional frontiers between ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ sustainability. While monetary incentives and technological improvement are expensive, behavioral changes possess the capacity to deliver good results not only at a lower cost, but also over a shorter time horizon. Importantly, even researchers suffer from biases in the way they perceive the environment in the context of their field of expertise. We suspect the existence of a self-serving bias, more precisely, a déformation professionelle bias, which causes traditional scientists to devote too much attention to technological solutions (as we, admittedly, do with behavioral solutions). Presumably, behavioral solutions are not immune to deficiencies, and raise several ethical issues. For instance, little is known on how behavioral and cognitive biases interact. For instance how loss aversion interacts with hyperbolic discounting? Understanding these interactions is crucial to design the optimal package of behavior change‐inducing measures to reach sustainable development goals. We also need to better understand the relationship between short‐run and long‐run behavioral changes or conversion (Pollitt and Shaorshadze, forthcoming). Moreover, behavioral policy measures may discriminate against less-educated populations and could conceivably result in an overly paternalistic society — one in which the tendency towards behavioral manipulation surpasses the preservation of individual freedoms. Consumer, citizen, or researcher, we are all subject to attribution biases, inclined to externalize the responsibility of environmental problems by looking to external solutions (i.e., technological capital) instead of the internal potential that lies with changing our own behavior — by tapping into our ‘behavioral capital’. At the other extreme, however, it is evident that purely behavioral solutions to our current environmental predicament would also fail in important ways. Indeed, behavioral interventions and other nudges can be used (and are already used) by various agents who diverge in some respects (e.g., financial resources, leverage) and ultimately pursue competitive goals. Some environmental problems can be so crucial that behavioral soft interventions or so-called nudges seem insufficient and call for shoves. For this reason, it is incumbent upon policy makers to combine behavioral innovations with more traditional tools. Indeed, change is most likely to be reached through a range of complementary instruments and approaches. In sum, there is a need to improve policy design by taking into account recurrent and predictable cognitive and behavioral biases in order to address enduring environmental issues, while simultaneously maintaining and even improving subjective well-being.