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Report - The calculation of risk in public investment

Report - The calculation of risk in public investment


Vincent Chriqui, Director General of the Centre for Strategic Analysis, released the report "The calculation of risk in public investment" in the presence of Christian Gollier, Director of Toulouse School of Economics, Monday, July 18 at the Center for Strategic Analysis

Prevention and risk management in recent years have become major topics of public debate. One reason for recognition of the precautionary principle: thus, many uncertainties, whether of health, environmental or economic trade-offs make public more sensitive than before.

How to define an acceptable risk or optimal prevention? How to organize society to effectively manage risk? What is in this respect the role of the state? These questions are crucial not only to understand the economics of risk but, in general, to develop prevention policies. In this context, the issue of assessing and measuring risk becomes central.

One of the points on which the theory hesitates, while the practice is still lacking, is the way to take into account operational risk and uncertainty in the economic calculations, upstream of the decision public.

How to value the expected effects of spending aimed at protecting the community against risk? The answer would be simple if spending could guarantee the
elimination of risks. Unfortunately, the question never arises as well, but in terms of balance: what cost to what risk reduction? Doing nothing would be wrong of course, want to remove all risk would be prohibitively costly. This is in fact define the rules of an equilibrium position.

The approach of the economist is here different from those of the engineer, doctor, biologist or climatologist, although they are complementary. It attempts to
answer a question: what do we gain collectively to a particular type of investment, and that we lose not to engage a particular expenditure of protection? It is well to weigh the possible gains or probable losses with probable or improbable but possible. This is to ensure the principle of proportionality and consistency between decisions and collective issues clearly specified, show the value of information that can review judgments, inform ultimately promoting an adversarial analysis risk and social acceptability.

Developed within a Working Group which brought together academics, practitioners and leaders of different administrations, the report that follows is a more original

It offers a general framework, in a pedagogical way, while exceeding the simplicity of the formulas used in everyday language on risk management, which often hides the collective challenges. He gives the keys to the reader and the practitioner to enter a technical literature, unapproachable.

He then related academic thinking and practices of assessors in different sectors where the issue of investment appraisal arises for governments with some sharpness: agriculture, health, transport, energy.

It shows how the theoretical developments and computational tools derived from them, increasingly complex, are not really effective in public decision unless they are designed and implemented in a renewed governance studies and taking account the strategic importance of producing quality information.

It helps to facilitate and harmonize the implementation of principles and methods of evaluation by the administrations of such studies, their components in both economic, environmental and social. Through this dialogue between university research and the expectations of practitioners, this report introduces, in a modest but real, an approach that aims to tame the risk, failing to domesticate it.

In the "Further Reading", the reader will find the document "Risk and economic calculation", written by Pierre Fery , civil engineer water and forests to the Treasury Department, a more mathematical theory Risk and concepts that are the source of the report.

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