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  • 1.
    Jussila Hammes, Johanna
    et al.
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi, TEK.
    Nerhagen, Lena
    VTI, Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut.
    Congdon Fors, Heather
    Göteborgs universitet.
    The influence of individual characteristics and institutional norms on bureaucrats’ use of CBA in environmental policy: a model and a choice experiment2019Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Social scientists regularly criticize the use of cost-benefit analysis (CBA), which has led to much focus being placed on investigating the possible biases related to its results. Recent research shows that CBA is not routinely done prior to environmental, energy, and climate policymaking in Sweden, and in countries where a CBA is made, the results have little influence on political decisions. This paper investigates obstacles to using CBA information with a focus on bureaucrats. We use empirical data from Sweden, where the ministries are small by international standards and hence government agencies have a sizeable influence on policymaking. We construct a theoretical model and then test the theoretical predictions with empirical data collected from five Swedish government agencies. The empirical results lend support both for the assertion that risk aversion concerning the environmental outcome, the bureaucrats’ environmental attitudes, and the cost of taking CBA information into account have a considerable impact on the probability of using information from a CBA. Hence risk averse and bureaucrats with strong environmental preferences are less likely and bureaucrats with low cost of doing a CBA more likely than other bureaucrats to use CBA information. Finally, a binding governmental budget constraint may positively influence a bureaucrat’s choice of undertaking a CBA. A tentative conclusion is therefore that it may be possible to increase the use of CBA by making the budgetary consequences of policies much clearer and demanding due consideration of costs.

  • 2.
    Jussila Hammes, Johanna
    et al.
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi, TEK.
    Pyddoke, Roger
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi, TEK.
    Nerhagen, Lena
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi Borlänge, TEK-B.
    The impact of education on environmental policy decision-making2013Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Civil servants in governmental agencies regularly both propose environmental policies for the elected politicians and make own decisions. In making these decisions they may be influenced by legal norms, agency policy and culture, professional norms acquired through education as well as personal political preferences. This study tests how students in late stages of professional training in economics, biology and social sciences handle information in order to make a stylized choice of a national nutrient limit for lake water, or choose a program at a municipal level to lower the nutrient level in a local lake. The purpose is to test whether professional norms acquired during academic education and/or the presence of an international standard influences decision-making. We examine three hypotheses. Firstly, students’ political attitudes affect their choice of major, i.e. biology, economics or social sciences, and thereby indirectly their decisions. We find that the distribution of the political values among disciplines is compatible with the hypothesis, which therefore is not rejected. Secondly, a student’s major influences the kind of information they use and consequently the policy choice they will recommend. In plain words we expected biology students to go for environmentally more ambitious (lower) nutrient limits and economics students to prefer economically efficient (higher) levels. The central result is that while economics majors are more likely than biology or social science majors to choose a cost-efficient nutrient limit, the mean and median values of the nutrient levels chosen by the three groups do not differ from one another in a statistically significant way. Economists thus have a higher standard deviation in their answers than the other majors. The third hypothesis is that the presence of an internationally approved standard level for the nutrient content will significantly influence the choice of national nutrient limit. We find that biology students are influenced to set a lower nutrient limit when presented with the standard than otherwise, thereby rejecting the null hypothesis for this group. For students in economics and social sciences, no significant effect is found. Our results have implications for the feasibility of micromanagement in government agencies as recruiting economists to environmental agencies may not be sufficient to ensure economically efficient decisions. The findings also should sound a warning about the skills learned by economics majors at the two largest universities in Sweden: while some students seem familiar with the concepts of optimality and cost efficiency and able to use them, this applies to far from all of them.

  • 3.
    Nerhagen, Lena
    et al.
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi Borlänge, TEK-B.
    Pyddoke, Roger
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi Stockholm, TEK-S.
    Jussila Hammes, Johanna
    Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut, Transportekonomi Stockholm, TEK-S.
    Response to a social dilemma: an analysis of the choice between an economic and an environmental optimum in a policy making context2014Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Many countries have begun to require benefit-cost analysis as a way of informing key regulatory decisions. However, its actual use seem to be limited, especially in the area of environmental, health, and safety regulation. Reasons for this seem to be lack of knowledge and experience among decision makers and that established quality objectives prevent the use of this type of analysis and deliberation. We present the results from an experiment designed to investigate choice behavior in a public sector context. Students with different academic majors were asked to act as decision makers. There were two choice situations: one in a municipality deciding on an action plan and one in a government agency having to propose a national limit value. In both settings, the outcome that would pass a benefit-cost test would not achieve a natural state of the environment, hence a social dilemma choice situation. We find that a majority of the respondents prefer outcomes that can be considered environmental “optimum” but that there is a difference depending on academic major. The choice context also influences the response behavior and so does the information about an international standard. The latter increases the likelihood to accept alternatives that imply higher costs.

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