Environmental Dilemmas and Policy Design (Theories of Institutional Design)

Environmental Dilemmas and Policy Design (Theories of Institutional Design)

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Huib Pellikaan, Robert J. van der Veen
Cambridge University Press, 2002-08-22
EAN 9780521621564, ISBN10: 0521621569

Hardcover, 262 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

According to the logic of collective action, mere awareness of the causes of environmental degradation will not motivate rational agents to reduce pollution. Yet some government policies aim to enlist citizens in schemes of voluntary cooperation, drawing on an ethos of collective responsibility. Are such policies doomed to failure? This book provides a novel application of rational choice theory to a large-scale survey of environmental attitudes in The Netherlands. Its main findings are that rational citizens are motivated to cooperate towards a less polluted environment to a large extent, but that their willingness to assume responsibility depends on the social context of the collective action problem they face. This empirical study is an important volume in the development of a more consistent foundation for rational choice theory in policy analysis, which seeks to clarify major theoretical issues concerning the role of moral commitment, self-interest and reciprocity in environmental behaviour.

‘This is social science at its best. Instead of taking casual looks at very important concepts, they have teased apart an important foundation of modern social science theory, and developed a large data set that enables them to examine piece by piece this important concept. What a gem!’ Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University

'This is an excellent book that makes a genuinely significant contribution to social science methodology and environmental policy. It is extremely clearly written and surprisingly accessible to the non-specialist.' Derek R. Bell, Newcastle University

‘… this is an important case study in the responsiveness of public opinion to environmental information campaigns.’ Acta Politica

'… a detailed and thought-provoking read.' Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy