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Environmental policy, government, and the market

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  • Cameron Hepburn

Abstract

Environmental policy is made in a context of both market failure and government failure. On the one hand, leaving environmental protection to the free market, relying on notions of corporate social responsibility and altruistic consumer and shareholder preferences, will not deliver optimal results. On the other hand, nationalizing the delivery of environmental protection is likely to fail because nation states rarely have the depth and quality of information required to instruct all the relevant agents to make appropriate decisions. Thus, as for many areas of policy, appropriate models of environmental intervention will lie between these two extremes. While it is impossible to specify general rules concerning the precise form of intervention, in part because the type of intervention depends upon value judgements, this paper sets out some of the considerations that are particular to environmental policy, and explores several principles for policy design, including information, coordination, and principal--agent problems, with a particular focus on the international context. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Cameron Hepburn, 2010. "Environmental policy, government, and the market," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 117-136, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:26:y:2010:i:2:p:117-136
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grq016
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    Cited by:

    1. Matt Andrews, 2014. "An Ends-Means Approach to Looking at Governance," CID Working Papers 281, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Rosetta Lombardo, 2011. "The Role Of Corporate Social Responsibility In Consumer Behaviour: An Unresolved Paradox," Working Papers 201115, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    3. Okereke, Chukwumerije & McDaniels, Devin, 2012. "To what extent are EU steel companies susceptible to competitive loss due to climate policy?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 203-215.
    4. Wolfgang Buchholz & Jonas Frank & Hans-Dieter Karl & Johannes Pfeiffer & Karen Pittel & Ursula Triebswetter & Jochen Habermann & Wolfgang Mauch & Thomas Staudacher, 2012. "Die Zukunft der Energiemärkte: Ökonomische Analyse und Bewertung von Potenzialen und Handlungsmöglichkeiten," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 57, October.
    5. Andrews, Matt, 2014. "An Ends-Means Approach to Looking at Governance," Working Paper Series rwp14-022, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2013. "Economic Ideas for a Complex Climate Policy Regime," Discussion Papers dp-13-03-rev, Resources For the Future.
    7. Joas, Fabian & Pahle, Michael & Flachsland, Christian & Joas, Amani, 2016. "Which goals are driving the Energiewende? Making sense of the German Energy Transformation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 42-51.
    8. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2013. "Economic ideas for a complex climate policy regime," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages 24-31.
    9. Guta, Dawit & Jara, Jose & Adhikari, Narayan & Qiu, Chen & Gaur, Varun & Mirzabaev, Alisher, 2015. "Decentralized energy in Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus in Developing Countries: Case Studies on Successes and Failures," Discussion Papers 207713, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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