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Nutrient Pollution: A Wicked Challenge for Economic Instruments

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  • James Shortle

    () (Environment and Natural Resources Institute, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University, USA)

  • Richard D. Horan

    (#x2020;Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, USA)

Abstract

Nutrient pollution is one of the most important problems facing aquatic systems globally. The problem qualifies as a wicked one, involving multiple pollutants from multiple sources interacting in complex ways over space and time along multiple pathways, with uncertainty present at each stage of the process—from pollutant generation to the final ecological and economic impacts. We draw on a diverse interdisciplinary literature to identify challenges for implementing efficient solutions using economic instruments, but also describe why economic research and concern for economic efficiency are of crucial importance to the selection of instruments to address the problem, and propose a general equilibrium economic geography paradigm for research on instrument design and choice.

Suggested Citation

  • James Shortle & Richard D. Horan, 2017. "Nutrient Pollution: A Wicked Challenge for Economic Instruments," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(02), pages 1-39, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsi:wepxxx:v:03:y:2017:i:02:n:s2382624x16500338
    DOI: 10.1142/S2382624X16500338
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    7. Yingzhuang Guo & Xiaoyan Wang & Lili Zhou & Charles Melching & Zeqi Li, 2020. "Identification of Critical Source Areas of Nitrogen Load in the Miyun Reservoir Watershed under Different Hydrological Conditions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-1, January.

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