Value-oriented impact assessment: the economics of a new approach to impact assessment

Frank Figge, T. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental Impact Assessment has gained a prominent position as a tool to evaluate the environmental effects of economic activities. However, all approaches proposed so far use a burden-oriented logic. They concentrate on the different environmental impacts in order to ascertain the overall environmental damage caused by economic activity. This paper argues that such a burden-oriented view is (a) hampered by a series of methodological shortcomings which hinders its widespread use in practice; and (b) is analytically incomplete. The paper proposes a value-oriented approach to impact assessment. For this purpose an economic analysis of the optimal use of environmental and social resources is conducted from both a burden-oriented and a value-oriented standpoint. The basic logic of a value-oriented impact assessment is explained, as well as the resulting economic conditions for an optimal use of resources. In addition, it is shown that value- and burden-oriented approaches are complementary to achieve optimality. Finally, the paper discusses the conditions under which the use of burden- or value-oriented impact assessments is appropriate, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-941
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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