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The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks

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  • Peter S. Menell

Abstract

This article assesses the major systems of environmental liability in the United States—the toxic tort system and Superfund. The discussion of each of these areas first lays out the scientific background of the environmental problems and the applicable regulatory regime. It then analyzes the efficacy of these regimes for addressing environmental problems and suggests alternative institutional designs for better promoting the goals of equitable and cost-effective compensation of disease victims and efficient deterrence and remediation of environmental degradation.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter S. Menell, 1991. "The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 93-113, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:3:p:93-113 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.3.93
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.5.3.93
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter S. Barth & H. Allan Hunt, 1980. "Workers' Compensation and Work-Related Illnesses and Diseases," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number psbhah1980.
    2. Kornhauser, Lewis A & Revesz, Richard L, 1990. "Apportioning Damages among Potentially Insolvent Actors," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 617-651.
    3. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2004. "Modelling the choice between regulation and liability in terms of social welfare," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 590-612, August.
    2. Revesz, Richard & Stavins, Robert, 2004. "Environmental Law and Policy," Working Paper Series rwp04-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Mason, Robin, 2004. "Dividends, safety and liquidation when liabilities are long-term and stochastic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 1179-1210.
    4. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1999. "Using decoupling and deep pockets to mitigate judgment-proof problems1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 275-293, June.
    5. Nancy Anders Norton & Tim T. Phipps & Jerald J. Fletcher, 1994. "Role Of Voluntary Programs In Agricultural Nonpoint Pollution Policy," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(1), pages 113-121, January.
    6. Sigman, Hilary, 1998. "Liability Funding and Superfund Clean-Up Remedies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 205-224, May.
    7. Thomas J. Miceli, 2013. "Collective Responsibility," Working papers 2013-23, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    8. Levinson, Arik & Shetty, Sudhir, 1992. "Los Angeles, Mexico City, Cubatao, and Ankara - Efficient environmental regulation : case studies of urban air pollution," Policy Research Working Paper Series 942, The World Bank.
    9. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2007. "Punishing the Innocent along with the Guilty: The Economics of Individual versus Group Punishment," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 81-106.
    10. Trebilcock, Michael & Winter, Ralph A., 1997. "The economics of nuclear accident law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 215-243, June.
    11. Lichtenberg, Erik, 2002. "Agriculture and the environment," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 23, pages 1249-1313 Elsevier.
    12. Mondello, Gérard, 2012. "La responsabilité environnementale des prêteurs : difficultés juridiques et ensemble des possibles," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 88(2), pages 257-278, Juin.
    13. Olmstead, Sheila & Richardson, Nathan, 2014. "Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development Using Innovative Legal and Regulatory Approaches," Discussion Papers dp-14-15, Resources For the Future.
    14. Barak Richman & Chris Boerner, "undated". "A Transaction Cost Economizing Approach To Regulation: Understanding Government Responses To The Nimby Problem," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1010, American Law & Economics Association.
    15. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2000. "Law versus Regulation: A Political Economy Model of Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-57, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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