Decisions on Public Projects with Negative Externalities: Veil of Ignorance or Impartial Spectator?
|Business & Economics; cost-sharing scheme; Economics; externalities; Government & Law; Political Science; public projects; social choice; veil of ignorance; WELFARE
|REVUE D ECONOMIE POLITIQUE
There are public projects which many people welcome because they are expected to be beneficial for society at large. On the other hand, however, these projects may generate larger negative externalities for certain parts of society. One example is the erection of a nuclear power-plant, a measure that is widely considered to render a country's energy provision less dependent on supply from outside. On the other hand, it possibly causes a feeling of insecurity among people who live in the vicinity of such a power station, and can furthermore have negative economic consequences in so far as the price of land and of houses may decline in this area. How should decisions on public projects with larger negative externalities be taken? Assuming that the benefits for all those who are directly or indirectly affected by such a project are roughly the same, a cost-sharing or burden-sharing method is proposed that focuses on a weighted difference between the economic performance of a particular region and the average performance of all regions concerned. The weight is to be determined by an impartial observer.
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