Summary of "The Social Response to Environmental Risk: Policy Formulation in an Age of Uncertainty"

 

Summary of

The Social Response to Environmental Risk: Policy Formulation in an Age of Uncertainty

Ed. by Daniel W. Bromley & Kathleen Segerson

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium


Citation: "The Social Response to Environmental Risk: Policy Formulation in an Age of Uncertainty." Daniel W. Bromley & Kathleen Segerson (eds). (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992), 206pp.


"The Social Response to Environmental Risk: Policy Formulation in an Age of Uncertainty" is an overview of the perceptions and valuation of environmental risk. This work is heavily influenced by economic theory.

"The Social Response to Environmental Risk: Policy Formulation in an Age of Uncertainty" is required reading for ARSC 5010/7010 as taught by Dr. Guy Burgess and Professor Charles Lester. This work is a collection of free-standing essays drawn from multiple disciplines. The first chapter will be of interest to those who are concerned with the relationship between entitlements and environmental risks. The authors are concerned specifically with "... alternative entitlement structures - property rights - in environmental policy". The author develops the concept of entitlements and offers a discussion of the perceptions of entitlements in environmental risks.

The second essay will be useful to those who desire an understanding of risk perception and evaluation. This essay is a comparison of conventional theory with prospective reference theory in the treatment ofenvironmental risk perception and valuation. The author examines: economic research on the risk perception process, the treatment of risk perceptions and ex ante valuation and the policy implications of such research and treatment. The third essay will assist those who question administrative perceptions of the public. This essay addresses the way the public is perceived, to perceive risk. Following an example comparing the risk of being killed in an airplane with that of being kicked to death by a rogue donkey, the author questions: how much people know about hazards, what constitutes a risk, and what needs to be known about risk and by whom.

The fourth chapter will be of interest to those who are concerned with the media's affect on public perceptions. This essay addresses the relationship between the media's framing of risk stories and thepublic perceptions of risk. Studies of media coverage of risk, framework as a concept, and the affect of power hierarchies in news rooms are examined. The fifth essay will concern those who desire an understanding of the response, by policy makers, to risk perceptions. The author addresses three main topics: the role of government in environmental risk management, the nature of environmental risk management, and alternative policy approaches. In an essay on decision-making about biotechnology, the environmental risks of biotechnology are addressed. An essay entitled "Gaining acceptance of noxious facilities with economic incentives," (or how the public can be bought off) addresses: public opposition to facilities, perceived risk of nuclear waste repositories, and how economic incentives change the perceptions of those risks. The final essay is an examination of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the 1990s. The structure of OSHA standards, efforts at reforming OSHA, the need for effective enforcement and proposals for future OSHA policy are offered.

"The Social Response to Environmental Risk: Policy Formulation in an Age of Uncertainty," offers an examination of the effect of risk perceptions and economic factors on policy formulation from a multi- disciplinary approach under-girded by economic theory.