IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

On the Increasing Role of Economic Research in Management of Resources and Protection of the Environment

Listed author(s):
  • William J. Baumol


    (Professor and Academic Director, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, NY 10012
    Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544)

This paper follows precedent in mixing substantive matters related to resource and environmental economics with an autobiographical framework. Unavoidably, this pushes the contents toward my own contributions to the field—especially those that, in my belief, have not received the attention they merit. After following precedent and beginning with some words on my origins and my subsequent affiliations, I focus on several examples showing how economic analysis has helped to illuminate this subject that is so critical for the general welfare. I begin with the origins of our understanding of externalities and their increasing role in the literature on the subjects under discussion here. Second, I turn to the issue of effective policy measures and the political obstacles that impede their adoption. As part of this, I discuss markets in emission permits as a way to make the Pigouvian taxation approach more palatable. I show that these two are basically equivalent, but the same is not true of the carrot and the stick approaches—i.e., taxes on emissions and subsidy rewards for reducing such environmental damage. Third, I use a Leontief approach to show how the benefits of the use of substitutes for scarce resources are commonly exaggerated and can inadvertently hasten depletion of a scarce resource, despite appearing to contribute to preservation. Finally, I turn to as-yet-unpublished material, which shows that the cost disease model I have used to account for the persistent, cumulative, and rapid rise in the real cost of activities such as health care, education, and the performing arts also describes and explains the pecuniary source of much of the threat that currently besets the environment—paradoxically doing so through the decreasing real costs of other products that are an inescapable companion to the rising costs that beset other economic activities.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text downloads are only available to subscribers. Visit the abstract page for more information.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 1-11

in new window

Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:2:y:2010:p:1-11
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Annual Reviews 4139 El Camino Way Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:2:y:2010:p:1-11. 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: (

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.