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Toward a Political Theory of Environmental Policy

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  • Marcel Boyer

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  • Jean-Jacques Laffont

Abstract

This paper makes some steps toward a formal political economy of environmental policy. Economists' quasi-unanimous preferences for sophisticated incentive regulation is reconsidered. First, we recast the question of instrument choice in the general mechanism literature and provide an incomplete contract approach to political economy. Then, in various settings, we show why constitutional constraints on the instruments of environmental policy may be desirable, even though they appear inefficient from a purely standard economic viewpoint. Their justification lies in the limitations they impose on the politicians' ability to distribute rents. Some insights are then provided into the question often raised regarding the recent emergence of incentive mechanisms in environmental regulation. Nous developpons dans cet article quelques jalons d'une économie politique de la politique environnementale. Nous réexaminons le consensus des économistes en faveur de mécanismes sophistiqués de réglementation incitative. Nous insérons tout d'abord la question du choix des instruments dans le cadre général de la construction de mécanismes et nous développons une économie politique à partir d'une analyse de contrats incomplets. Ensuite, nous montrons dans divers contextes pourquoi des contraintes constitutionnelles sur le choix des instruments de politique environnementale peuvent être désirables malgré leur apparente inefficacité économique. Leur justification réside dans les limites qu'elles imposent à la capacité des politiciens de distribuer des rentes. Nos résultats permettent de mieux comprendre l'émergence récente de mécanismes incitatifs en réglementation environnementale.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 96s-07.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 1996
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:96s-07

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Keywords: Environment; Political Economy; Political Theory; Choice of Instruments; Environnement; Économie politique; Théorie politique; Choix d'instruments;

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References

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  1. Lee, Dwight R., 1975. "Efficiency of pollution taxation and market structure," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 69-72, September.
  2. Donald N. Dewees & W. A. Sims, 1976. "The Symmetry of Effluent Charges and Subsidies for Pollution Control," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 9(2), pages 323-31, May.
  3. Boyer, Marcel & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1997. "Environmental risks and bank liability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1427-1459, August.
  4. Hahn, Robert W, 1990. " The Political Economy of Environmental Regulation: Towards a Unifying Framework," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 21-47, April.
  5. David P. Baron, 1985. "Noncooperative Regulation of a Nonlocalized Externality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 553-568, Winter.
  6. Barnett, A H, 1980. "The Pigouvian Tax Rule under Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1037-41, December.
  7. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
  8. Baron, David P., 1985. "Regulation of prices and pollution under incomplete information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 211-231, November.
  9. Coelho, Philip R P, 1976. "Polluters' Profits and Political Response: Direct Control versus Taxes: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 976-78, December.
  10. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
  11. Dewees, Donald N, 1983. "Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 53-71, January.
  12. Maloney, Michael T & McCormick, Robert E, 1982. "A Positive Theory of Environmental Quality Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 99-123, April.
  13. Dasgupta, Partha & Hammond, Peter & Maskin, Eric, 1980. "On Imperfect Information and Optimal Pollution Control," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 857-60, October.
  14. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  15. Buchanan, James M, 1969. "External Diseconomies, Corrective Taxes, and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 174-77, March.
  16. Buchanan, James M & Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "Polluters' Profits and Political Response: Direct Controls Versus Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 139-47, March.
  17. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
  18. BOYER, Marcel, 1995. "Environmental Protection Producer Insolvency and Lender Liability," Cahiers de recherche 9557, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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Cited by:
  1. Ulph, Alistair, 1998. "Political institutions and the design of environmental policy in a federal system with asymmetric information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 583-592, May.

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