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Nonregulatory Approaches to the Environment: Coasean and Pigouvian Perspectives


  • H. Spencer Banzhaf
  • Timothy Fitzgerald
  • Kurt Schnier


This article introduces a symposium on decentralized approaches to environmental management. These approaches include voluntary contributions to public goods, bundling contributions with private goods, and bundling the use of the environment with private goods. The article compares and contrasts the Coasean property rights perspective on such arrangements with the Pigouvian perspective of public economic theory. It further evaluates the efficiency of such arrangements through the lens of the excludability and nonrivalry problems, which are common to both perspectives. We conclude that both perspectives provide important insights for a comparative analysis of nonregulatory and regulatory approaches.(JEL: D23, D62, H23) Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Spencer Banzhaf & Timothy Fitzgerald & Kurt Schnier, 2013. "Nonregulatory Approaches to the Environment: Coasean and Pigouvian Perspectives," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(2), pages 238-258, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:7:y:2013:i:2:p:238-258

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles Mason & Andrew Plantinga, 2011. "Contracting for Impure Public Goods: Carbon Offsets and Additionality," NBER Working Papers 16963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Harstad, Bård, 2016. "The market for conservation and other hostages," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 124-151.
    3. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel, 2009. "Greenhouse Gas Reductions under Low Carbon Fuel Standards?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 106-146, February.
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    5. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf & Charles Palmer, 2012. "Enforcement-proof contracts with moral hazard in precaution: ensuring 'permanence' in carbon sequestration," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 350-374, April.
    6. Gurgel Angelo & Reilly John M & Paltsev Sergey, 2007. "Potential Land Use Implications of a Global Biofuels Industry," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-36, December.
    7. Carolyn Fischer & Alan K. Fox, 2007. "Output-Based Allocation of Emissions Permits for Mitigating Tax and Trade Interactions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(4), pages 575-599.
    8. Juan-Pablo Montero, 2008. "A Simple Auction Mechanism for the Optimal Allocation of the Commons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 496-518, March.
    9. Gan, Jianbang & McCarl, Bruce A., 2007. "Measuring transnational leakage of forest conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 423-432, December.
    10. Cassimon, Danny & Prowse, Martin & Essers, Dennis, 2009. "The pitfalls and potential of debt-for-nature swaps: a US-Indonesian case study," IOB Working Papers 2009.07, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    11. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf & Charles Palmer, 2010. "Enforcement-proof contracts with moral hazard in precaution: ensuring �permanence� in carbon sequestration," GRI Working Papers 27, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    12. Millard-Ball, Adam & Ortolano, Leonard, 2010. "Constructing carbon offsets: The obstacles to quantifying emission reductions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 533-546, January.
    13. Steven Shavell, 1984. "A Model of the Optimal Use of Liability and Safety Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 271-280, Summer.
    14. Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & Sven Wunder & Paul J. Ferraro, 2010. "Show Me the Money: Do Payments Supply Environmental Services in Developing Countries?," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(2), pages 254-274, Summer.
    15. Juan-Pablo Montero, 1999. "Voluntary Compliance with Market-Based Environmental Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Acid Rain Program," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 998-1033, October.
    16. Amacher, Gregory S. & Ollikainen, Markku & Koskela, Erkki, 2012. "Corruption and forest concessions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 92-104.
    17. Kahn, James R. & McDonald, Judith A., 1995. "Third-world debt and tropical deforestation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 107-123, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua K. Abbott, 2015. "Fighting Over a Red Herring: The Role of Economics in Recreational-Commercial Allocation Disputes," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 1-20.
    2. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf, 2014. "Coasean Bargaining in the Presence of Pigouvian Taxation: Revisiting the Buchanan-Stubblebine-Turvey Theorem," Discussion Papers Series 515, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    3. Andrew David Allan Smith, 2016. "The Use and Abuse of Environmental Knowledge: A Bloomington School Interpretation of the Canadian Fisheries Act of 1868," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 139-161, June.
    4. MacKenzie, Ian A. & Ohndorf, Markus, 2016. "Coasean bargaining in the presence of Pigouvian taxation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 1-11.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies


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