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Back of the envelope estimates of environmental damage costs in Mexico

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  • Margulis, Sergio
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    Abstract

    For developing countries, budget constraints help set the agenda on mitigating environmental damage, one of the indelible marks of our era. Political considerations often dictate the measures taken. There are no firm analytical formulas to help even environmentally conscious policymakers rank needs and remedies. A developing country such as Mexico - the focus of this paper - cannot afford an in-depth study of every environmental issue. Policymakers need to be provided with rough,"back-of-the envelope"estimates of the economic costs of various environmental problems. This allows them to rank the issues and act. In this paper the author applied existing methods to estimate the costs stemming from different environmental problems in Mexico. Although the examples are from Mexico, the method can be useful in other developing countries as well. The author how creative use of U.S. and other data can help provide simple estimates of the likely costs of soil erosion, air pollution, mining of underground waters, and estimates of the health effects of water and solid waste pollution, lack of sanitation, and the ingestion of food contaminated by polluted irrigation. The assumptions underlying all calculations are conservative. Some environmental damage issues, such as loss of biodiversity, were too complex to permit quantification.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 824.

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    Date of creation: 31 Jan 1992
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:824

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    Related research

    Keywords: Water Conservation; Economic Theory&Research; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Environmental Economics&Policies; Pollution Management&Control;

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    Cited by:
    1. Vladimir Kühl Teles & Ronaldo A. Arraes, 2004. "Environmental Protection And Economic Growth," Anais do XXXII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 32th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 044, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    2. Uri, Noel D. & Boyd, Roy, 1997. "An evaluation of the economic effects of higher energy prices in Mexico," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 205-215, February.
    3. Pearce, David, 1996. "Economic valuation and health damage from air pollution in the developing world," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 627-630, July.
    4. Vladimir K. Teles & Ronaldo A. Arraes, 2004. "Optimal Environmental Protection and Environmental Kuznets Curve," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 60, Econometric Society.
    5. Quah, Euston & Boon, Tay Liam, 2003. "The economic cost of particulate air pollution on health in Singapore," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 73-90, February.
    6. Ros, Jaime & Draisma, Joost & Lustig, Nora & Kate, Adriaan Ten, 1996. "Prospects for growth and the environment in Mexico in the 1990s," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 307-324, February.

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