Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Unintended Consequences


outcomes of a purposeful action that are not intended or foreseen


The invisible hand theorem is an example of the unintended consequences of agents acting in their self-interest


Unintended consequences can be grouped into three types:

  • Unexpected benefit: A positive unexpected benefit (also referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall).
  • Unexpected drawback: An unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy (e.g., while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne diseases that have devastating health effects, such as schistosomiasis).
  • Perverse result: A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse


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