Read to the end

Den amerikanska journalisten Rachel Maddow pÃ¥ MSNBC har en regel som heter “läs ända till slutet” (read to the end). Det kan visa sig att historien tar en vändning och att saker och ting kommer i ett nytt, kanske oväntat, ljus. Det verkar vara sÃ¥ även när det gäller den debatt som uppstÃ¥tt i DN med anledning av att Svante Axelsson argumenterade för satsningar för stÃ¥lindustrin, bilbatterier och bioraffinaderier och som skulle göra Sverige till ett föregÃ¥ngsland för fossilfrihet. Han ville ”vända upp och ned pÃ¥ den slentrianmässiga föreställningen att det är en börda att vara ett föregÃ¥ngsland i klimatarbetet.”

Mothugget kom från några nationalekonomer som i sin argumentation stödde sig på en studie från kollegor i Umeå där dessa utgår från en granskning av den så kallade Porterhypotesen. En granskning som vill göra gällande att det som regel inte finns några vinster i att vara föregångare. På sidan 36 skriver Umeågranskarna:

The possibility of “extra profits” that neutralize or even exceed the initial cost of regulation should not be expected. This is the “take-home” message of this review. It does not mean that we cannot find a firm that “wins” from regulation, but it does mean that such a situation would be the exception rather than the rule.

Detta stycke översätts och citeras av debattörerna i DN.

Men på sidan 37 görs en liten men viktig utvikning (min kursivering i texten):

Two research areas that seem to be increasingly relevant to the Porter hypothesis, and could motivate future theoretical and empirical research efforts, are bounded rationality and behavioral economics.

In behavioral economics the basic point is that in an increasingly large number of cases it has become clear that people, or in the case of the Porter hypothesis the managers of the firms, do not move from the status quo even when it is in their best interest to do so. Hence, in these circumstances, regulations that force the changes could actually lead to enhanced efficiency and increased competitiveness. In the context of Porter’s argumentation, there is a need to investigate and study this further in future research.

In some energy efficiency studies it is shown that bounded rationality seems to characterize decision-making in some cases. Simon suggests that economic agents employ the use of heuristics to make decisions rather than a strict rigid rule of optimization. They do this because of the complexity of the situation, and their inability to process and compute the expected utility of every alternative action. Deliberation costs might be high and there are often other economic activities where similar decision making is required. For example, Stern and Aronson noted that routines are rather commonly substituted for rigorous decision-making. These routines, such as replacing a depreciated piece of equipment with the same brand and type, may economize on the time and effort spent searching for the best product or strategy, but they can lead (and have led) to substantial biases against energy efficiency when technologies are rapidly changing.

Det är viktigt att läsa till slutet! Det ger en mera fullständig (och annan) bild,

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