The political economy of public participation in natural hazard decisions – a theoretical review and an exemplary case of the decision framework of Austrian hazard zone mapping
- alpS Centre for Natural Hazard Management, Innsbruck, Austria
- Institute of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Abstract. It is often argued whether public good decisions with a high degree of uncertainty, such as public decisions for the prevention against natural hazards are, should be solely left to be taken by expert bodies. Imperfect knowledge of experts may leave an uncertain level of risk to the public or the affected groups of persons or expert decisions might not reflect the affected parties' preferences in whose interest they should ideally act. Direct participation of affected parties in such decisions is believed to be valuable in many ways. On the one hand, it allows final decision makers' choices to be more accepted among stakeholders and on the other hand, knowledge by the experts can be complemented with the one by affected parties. From a political economic viewpoint it will be discussed in the present paper whether this process can be viewed to provide a "better" decision-making process by looking at an exemplary case of danger zone planning in Austria.