Do we care about sustainability? An analysis of time sensitivity of social preferences under environmental time-persistent effects

Michela Faccioli, Nick Hanley, Cati Torres, Antoni Riera Font

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Environmental cost-benefit analysis has traditionally assumed that the value of benefits is sensitive to their timing and that outcomes are valued higher, the sooner in time they occur following implementation of a project or policy. Though, this assumption might have important implications especially for the social desirability of interventions aiming at counteracting time-persistent environmental problems, whose impacts occur in the long- and very long-term, respectively involving the present and future generations. This study analyzes the time sensitivity of social preferences for preservation policies of adaptation to climate change stresses. Results show that stated preferences are time insensitive, due to sustainability issues: individuals show insignificant differences in benefits they can experience within their own lifetimes compared to those which occur in the longer term, and which will instead be enjoyed by future generations. Whilst these results may be specific to the experimental design employed here, they do raise interesting questions regarding choices over time-persistent environmental problems, particularly in terms of the desirability of interventions which produce longer-term benefits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)356-364
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Environmental Management
    Volume177
    Early online date26 Apr 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2016

    Keywords

    • Time-persistent environmental problems
    • Sustainability
    • Preference analysis
    • Choice experiment
    • Time sensitivity
    • Climate change

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