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Cows are Better than Condos, or How Economists Help Solve Environmental Problems

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This essay explores three case studies that illustrate the exemplary use of economic analysis in environmental decision-making. These include: 1) the creation of a market in tradable grazing rights in the American West; 2) a cost analysis that facilitated a negotiated rulemaking at a power plant in Arizona; and 3) a conception of production-based pollution allowances that led to an agreement for regulating Intel microprocessor production plants. The paper argues that cost-benefit analysis may be less useful than other kinds of economic analysis that can guide and inform rather than judge and second-guess the outcome of negotiated and collaborative decision-making.

Keywords: cost-benefit analysis; environmental policy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2015) of 1.311.
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