Title: The role of risk perception in building sustainable policy instruments: a case study of public coastal flood insurance in the USA

Authors: Chad J. McGuire

Addresses: Department of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA

Abstract: Public planning for sustainability implies a forward-looking approach that often includes imagining future harm and taking steps to prevent that future harm before it occurs. A major challenge to implementing such forward looking, or precautionary, a policy instrument is managing the impacts such policies have on existing expectations. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of risk perception in the development of forward-looking policy instruments. A case study example focused on coastal flood insurance in the USA is presented to highlight the difficulty of implementing sustainable policy goals when current policies incentivise the discounting of risk. The goal is to highlight factors of current policy expressions, like the discounting of risk, that inhibit the development and implementation of sustainable policy instruments.

Keywords: risk perception; sustainability; environmental policy; public policy; climate change; policy development; sea level rise; coastal flood insurance; sustainable policy instruments; case study; flooding; USA; United States; sustainable development; public planning; precautionary principle; discounting of risk.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2015.071013

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2015 Vol.16 No.2/3/4, pp.232 - 252

Received: 06 Oct 2014
Accepted: 25 Apr 2015

Published online: 05 Aug 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article