IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v9y1995i4p119-32.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?

Author

Listed:
  • Karen Palmer
  • Wallace E. Oates
  • Paul R. Portney

Abstract

This paper takes issue with the Porter-van der Linde claim that traditional benefit-cost analysis is a fundamental misrepresentation of the environmental problem. They contend that stringent environmental measures induce innovative efforts leading to improvements in abatement and production technologies that offset the costs of the regulations. Drawing both on basic economic theory and existing data on control costs, the authors argue that such offsets are special cases. The data indicate offsets are minuscule relative to control costs. There is no free lunch here: environmental programs must justify their costs by the benefits that improved environmental quality provides to society.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Palmer & Wallace E. Oates & Paul R. Portney, 1995. "Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 119-132, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:9:y:1995:i:4:p:119-32
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.4.119
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.9.4.119
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Magat, Wesley A., 1978. "Pollution control and technological advance: A dynamic model of the firm," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, March.
    2. Kennedy Peter W., 1994. "Equilibrium Pollution Taxes in Open Economies with Imperfect Competition," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 49-63, July.
    3. Ulph, A., 1994. "Strategic environmental policy and international trade: the role of market conduct," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9415, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    4. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
    5. Malueg, David A., 1989. "Emission credit trading and the incentive to adopt new pollution abatement technology," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 52-57, January.
    6. Downing, Paul B. & White, Lawrence J., 1986. "Innovation in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 18-29, March.
    7. Biglaiser, Gary & Horowitz, John K, 1995. "Pollution Regulation and Incentives for Pollution-Control Research," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 663-684, Winter.
    8. Ulph, Alistair Mitchell, 1994. "Strategic Environmental Policy and International Trade - The Role of Market Conduct," CEPR Discussion Papers 1065, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Hazilla, Michael & Kopp, Raymond J, 1990. "Social Cost of Environmental Quality Regulations: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 853-873, August.
    10. Simpson, R. David & Bradford, Robert III, 1996. "Taxing Variable Cost: Environmental Regulation as Industrial Policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 282-300, May.
    11. Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
    12. Renee Rico, 1995. "The U.S. allowance trading system for sulfur dioxide: An update on market experience," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 115-129, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516, Elsevier.
    2. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Stavins, Robert, 2004. "Environmental Economics," Discussion Papers dp-04-54, Resources For the Future.
    4. Montero, Juan-Pablo, 2002. "Permits, Standards, and Technology Innovation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 23-44, July.
    5. Thomas Ziesemer & Peter Michaelis, 2008. "Strategic Environmental Policy and the Accumulation of Knowledge," Discussion Paper Series 301, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
    6. Requate, Till & Unold, Wolfram, 2003. "Environmental policy incentives to adopt advanced abatement technology:: Will the true ranking please stand up?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 125-146, February.
    7. Adam B. Jaffe & Richard G. Newell & Robert N. Stavins, 2004. "Technology Policy for Energy and the Environment," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 4, pages 35-68, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Juan-Pablo Montero, 2002. "Market Structure and Environmental Innovation," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 5, pages 293-325, November.
    9. Dagmar Nelissen & Till Requate, 2007. "Pollution-reducing and resource-saving technological progress," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 5-44.
    10. Popp, David & Newell, Richard G. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2010. "Energy, the Environment, and Technological Change," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 873-937, Elsevier.
    11. Bontems, P. & Bourgeon, J.M., 2002. "Technological standards, environmental taxation and pollution monitoring," Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) 40, French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse).
    12. Li, Hong & Huang, Chengming & Yang, Bill Z., 2011. "Environmental Regulation, Business Innovation and International Competitiveness - Regolazione ambientale, innovazioni d’impresa e competitività internazionale," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 64(1), pages 115-128.
    13. Fischer, Carolyn, 2008. "Emissions pricing, spillovers, and public investment in environmentally friendly technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 487-502, March.
    14. Erik Verhoef & Peter Nijkamp, 1997. "The Adoption of Energy Efficiency Enhancing Technologies," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-077/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    15. Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard G., 2008. "Environmental and technology policies for climate mitigation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 142-162, March.
    16. Adam Jaffe & Richard Newell & Robert Stavins, 2002. "Environmental Policy and Technological Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 41-70, June.
    17. Bruneau, Joel F., 2004. "A note on permits, standards, and technological innovation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 1192-1199, November.
    18. Lehmann, Paul, 2008. "Using a policy mix for pollution control: A review of economic literature," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2008, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    19. David Grover, 2012. "Do market-based instruments really induce more environmental R&D? A test using US panel data," GRI Working Papers 98, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    20. van Soest, Daan P., 2005. "The impact of environmental policy instruments on the timing of adoption of energy-saving technologies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 235-247, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:9:y:1995:i:4:p:119-32. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.