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Unintended Consequences of Purposive Action and the Provision of Welfare

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Berge, Erling
Conference: Workshop on the Workshop
Location: Indiana University Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 16-18, 1994
Date: 1994
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2006
Sector: Theory
Region:
Subject(s): planning--theory
welfare
Workshop
Abstract: "The paper argues that unintended consequence ought to be a central concept in planning theory. In particular unintended consequences for a target population of the provision of welfare goods, are considered interesting. It is argued that two insufficiently recognized sources of difficulties for the provision of welfare lie, on the one hand, in consumer-consumer interactions and, on the other hand, in citizen-citizen interactions inherent in the process of providing welfare. To improve the performance of public policy measures, the planning of the various welfare goods must take into account how the substance of the process involved shapes these interactions producing unintended consequences. "In order to bring both unintended consequences and substance into planning theory it is necessary to find a way of classifying the substance as well as the unintended consequences of welfare programs. This is done by classifying the substance of welfare programs, the welfare goods, into private-, public-, club-, and positional- goods. Then the various unintended consequences are shown to be related to different types of consumer-consumer or citizen-citizen interactions. "The conclusion is that before a welfare planner can say anything about which measures may be appropriate for a particular welfare program, the planner must analyze the substance of the program and the likely interactions among the relevant target populations."

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