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Annual Conference of the SRA . Can Public Participation help at all to reduce Natural Hazard Risks? C.D. Gamper alpS Centre for Natural Hazard Management, Innsbruck, Austria Institute of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

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Annual Conference of the SRA

Can Public Participation help at all to reduce Natural Hazard Risks?

C.D. Gamper

alpS Centre for Natural Hazard Management, Innsbruck, Austria

Institute of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Annual Conference of the Society of Risk AnalysisLjubljana, 2006

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www.katrinahelp.com

The Issue

New Orleans, August 2005

…after Hurricane Katrina…

slide3

The Issue

www.katrinahelp.com

…finding strategies to cope…

slide4

The Issue

www.katrinahelp.com

…desperate relief actions…

slide5

The Issue

The provision of protective measures ?

www.waterstructures.com

…can be (have to be) bought on the market by private persons usually to protect their own belongings;

Demand = Supply

slide6

The Issue

The provision of protective measures ?

www.rivers.ch

…who pays in that case?

Everybody uses the city’s infrastructure, thus protection is needed!

www.dywidag-systems.com

Demand > Supply

No market, thus the state’s responsibility– but how to decide?

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The Challenge

  • politicians
      • lack of information about technicalities and people’s preferences
  • bureaucracies
      • inefficiencies in centralising/decentralising decisions
  • based on experts‘ judgements?
      • allocative inefficiencies: does not include preferences of those who actually pay for them
  • based on preferences of the affected parties (votes, etc.)
      • can the public decide upon protection measures against natural hazards?

Yes: informed decision making process

Hypothesis: participation increases efficiency of decision outcomes

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Theoretical Background:

Economic and political theoretic concepts are used to derive the hypothesis about whether and how participation increases the efficiency and effectiveness of decision processes.

Empirical Study:

An exemplary preventive measure, i.e. danger zone planning, is intended to be tested in terms of the effects of participation in actual decision making processes.

The Research

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Participation:

Political Science Theories:

Ideal of Democracy

Representing the will of people

Conflicting interests

Unanimity as “the ultimate truth statement”

underlying political theory: deliberative democracy

The Research

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The Research

Origins in Rawls’ ideas: (Rawls, 1971, 1997 and 1999)

  • relevance of discussions in politics
  • requirements:
    • theory of justice
    • everyone needs to be treated as equals
    • the normative strand of the “good individual”

Creation of an ideal of public deliberation

The way consensus is aimed at:

  • rational consensus as fundamental goal
  • vehicle: Habermas‘ ideal of deliberation (Habermas 1975 and 1992)
  • admitting: consensus cannot be reached at all times
      • second-best: voting rules
  • Decisions will still differ from the outcomes of decisions where collective choice models had been applied at the outset
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The Research

Political Economists: Sceptical

Economic Theory of Politics:

  • ideal of unanimity revisited
  • transfer economic arguments onto politics
  • establish rules to control politics
  • instead of welfare economic ideal of efficiency, criterion of unanimity
  • rules are legitimate if created through consensus

N…Number of individuals

K…required number for a decision Source: Buchanan and Tullock (1962)

K=N=unanimity – C=0

C…external costs of majority voting

D…decision time costs of achieving the required majority

K*…minimum of total costs (C+D) – number of individuals required for an optimal majority

  • Outcome versus Process = Welfare versus constitutional economics
  • solving conflicts through discourse
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The Research

Deliberative Democracy and Constitutional Economics:

Why think of linkages at all?

  • similar democratic ideals
  • deliberative democracy could strengthen idea of constitutional economics
  • discourse as an alternative to constitutionalism
  • deliberative democracy cannot be viewed isolated – collective decision making is still necessary
  • participation in forming constitutions decreases adaptations in future
  • bargaining over believes

Conclusion :

  • concepts do not contradict
  • idea of implementing it on other decision levels apart from the meta-level
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The Implementation

  • Participation in practice: many legislations include direct participation in the decision process: informed decision making
      • Example: danger zone planning in Austria
      • Do people use the opportunity?
      • Does their participation have an effect on the final outcome?
      • What can we conclude on the efficiency?
  • Using structuring methods that integrate technical information and preferences of affected parties
      • Example: MCDA
      • Evaluate its strengths in comparison to other techniques (Gamper et al., 2006)
      • Evaluate its potential as a governance instrument, especially for public decision contexts coupled with uncertainty, e.g. natural catastrophes (Gamper et al., 2006)
thank you for your attention
Thank you for your attention!

For further information or a copy of the preliminary working paper please contact me:

Email: gamper@alps-gmbh.com

Phone: +43 (0) 512 392929 19