Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The problem of prevention

Benoît, Jean-Pierre and Dubra, Juan (2006): The problem of prevention.

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Abstract

Many disasters are foreshadowed by insufficient preventative care. In this paper, we argue that there is a true problem of prevention, in that insufficient care is often the result of rational calculations on the part of agents. We identify three factors that lead to dubious efforts in care. First, when objective risks of a disaster are poorly understood, positive experiences may lead to an underestimation of these risks and a corresponding underinvestment in prevention. Second, redundancies designed for safety may lead agents to take substandard care. Finally, elected officials have an incentive to underinvest in prevention for some disasters, especially those that are relatively unlikely.

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