News Release

Compensation for damages can and should address social and cultural impacts

Reports and Proceedings

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

In this Policy Forum, Robin Gregory and colleagues highlight how a suite of methodological approaches can be used to bring less tangible social and cultural losses that marginalized groups incur into the formal compensation assessment framework. “Though the issues and approaches we describe are applicable in many contexts,” the authors write, “we illustrate them … with a focus on Indigenous communities, for whom the neglect of social and cultural losses in assessments of compensation is of particular concern.”  Gregory and colleagues explain how they collaborated with social science colleagues and both leaders and members of many Indigenous communities to develop a mixed-method approach for calculating compensation payments for damages resulting from initiatives such as resource developments (e.g., open-pit mines), expropriation of lands (e.g., for industrial uses), or environmental accidents (e.g., offshore oil spills). The authors note that they recognize that determination of these compensation awards, whether to Indigenous or non-Indigenous communities, involves and reflects many factors, but they say the mix of methodological approaches they propose can help overcome related challenges.

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