IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Economics, Economists, and Environmental Policy


  • Wallace E. Oates

    (University of Maryland)


This paper is the Presidential Address to the Sixteenth Annual Convention of the Eastern Economic Association. It offers some reflections on the role that economics has, and can, play in the determination of environmental policy. These reflections address the choice of policy instruments for pollution control and the locus of regulatory authority. A review of economic instruments suggests that effluent fees may offer more protection against costly errors than does a system of transferable emission permits. Compelling arguments exist for greater decentralization of some environmental measures; environmental federalism can allow for measures that are tailored more closely to "local" conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallace E. Oates, 1990. "Economics, Economists, and Environmental Policy," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 289-296, Oct-Dec.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:16:y:1990:i:4:p:289-296

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    2. Mestelman, Stuart, 1982. "Production externalities and corrective subsidies: A general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 186-193, June.
    3. Terkla, David, 1984. "The efficiency value of effluent tax revenues," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 107-123, June.
    4. Peltzman, Sam & Tideman, T Nicolaus, 1972. "Local versus National Pollution Control: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 959-963, December.
    5. Hahn, Robert W, 1989. "Economic Prescriptions for Environmental Problems: How the Patient Followed the Doctor's Orders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 95-114, Spring.
    6. Robert W. Hahn, 1984. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-765.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sverre Grepperud, 2015. "Optimal safety standards when accident prevention depends upon both firm and worker effort," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 505-521, June.
    2. Conrad, Klaus & Kohn, Robert E, 1996. "The US market for SO2 permits : Policy implications of the low price and trading volume," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(12), pages 1051-1059, December.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:eej:eeconj:v:16:y:1990:i:4:p:289-296. 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: (Victor Matheson, College of the Holy Cross). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.