Free Content Rationality in decision- and policy-making: implications for strategic environmental assessment

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Abstract:

A proper integration of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) into policy-making processes is considered critical to the success of SEA. Most of the work in SEA seems to be based on the assumption that the provision of rational information will help improve decision-making, but the literature points to other characteristics of real decision-making processes, including cognitive limitations, behavioural biases, ambiguity and variability of preferences and norms, distribution of decision-making over actors and in time, and the notion of decision-making as a process of learning and negotiation between multiple actors. All these are very relevant at the planning and policy level. In the policy sciences literature, some approaches may also hold promise for SEA, such as supporting an open learning process, variety in ways to support and roles to play in these processes, and paying more attention to the actor configuration and distribution of interests, as a basis for finding implementable and effective solutions to policy problems. The elaboration of these ideas holds promises as well as challenges for SEA.

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Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3152/147154600781767402

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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