Environmental Management

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 3–6 | Cite as

Use of value functions in environmental decisions

  • Kerry O'banion


Value functions are devices that allow discrete analyses of environmental impacts to be reconciled to a single quantitative scale of preference. The values obtained can then be “weighted” and combined into measures of the relative desirability of policy alternatives. However, for this methodology to be valid, the set of impacts used must satisfy a number of conditions; and whether or not these are met depends on how the impacts are selected and characterized. This paper generalizes instances where the conditions may be violated and how they may be resolved, and concludes with a few thoughts on how the methodology might be adapted to the routine of bureaucracy.

Key words

Decision analysis Environmental decisions Quantitative methods Policy analysis 


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Literature cited

  1. Buehring, W. al. 1978. Examining energy/environment policy using decision analysis.Energy Systems and Policy 2: 341–367.Google Scholar
  2. Dee, al. 1972.Environmental evaluation system for water resource planning. Battelle Columbus Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio.Google Scholar
  3. Keeney, R. L., and H. Raiffa. 1976.Decisions with multiple objectives: Preferences and value tradeoffs. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Skutch, W. W., and K. L. N. Flowerdew. 1976. Measurement techniques in environmental impact assessment.Environmental Conservations 3: 209–217.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry O'banion
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Environmental Sciences DivisionUniversity of CaliforniaLivermore

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