This paper focuses on the economic assessment of environmental policies that rely on the participation and cooperation of local communities. It argues that such policies have an intrinsic value that is ignored by the usual methods of economic valuation. This omission results from an adhesion to welfarism, a doctrine according to which the evaluation of public policy should be based solely on its consequences in terms of individual utilities. A number of authors reject this doctrine, however. They stress that public policy should not be narrowly interpreted as the choice of a social state since it also involves a choice among procedures. Indeed, different public policies involve different procedures that incorporate rights, opportunities and benefits to individuals. Furthermore, different procedures may possess different intrinsic and/or instrumental values. This paper argues that taking into account the intrinsic value of procedures has implications for the recommendations that can be made in terms of environmental policies: i.e., it may allow cooperative and participative policies to measure up against other forms of public policies.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/denis_claude/3/