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Calculating Risks?: The Spatial and Political Dimensions of Hazardous Waste Policy

Author

Listed:
  • James T. Hamilton

    () (Duke University)

  • W. Kip Viscusi

    () (Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

Hazardous wastes often head the public's list of environmental concerns. Exaggerated estimates of cancer epidemics arising from waste sites generate a sense of alarm, but little is known about the real extent of the health threats. In this book James T. Hamilton and W. Kip Viscusi present the first comprehensive analysis of the magnitude of hazardous waste risks and of the efficacy of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program. By matching agency decision data to detailed census information using geographic information systems (GIS) technology, the authors show that most hazardous waste sites do not pose sufficient risk to merit the most stringent cleanup options. Those sites that do pose considerable risk to exposed populations often receive inadequate attention, because government decisions to target cleanups are based more on political factors than on actual risks. The authors propose policy reforms that could significantly reduce cleanup costs without sacrificing the protection of human health. Beyond its analysis of a particular risk policy, the book serves as a general model for comprehensive risk analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 1999. "Calculating Risks?: The Spatial and Political Dimensions of Hazardous Waste Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262082780, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262082780
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Revesz, Richard & Stavins, Robert, 2004. "Environmental Law and Policy," Working Paper Series rwp04-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Deaton, Brady J., Jr. & Hoehn, John P., 2002. "The Effect Of Hazardous Waste Sites On Property Values In Zones Of High Industrial Activity: A Hedonic Approach," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19612, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:53:y:2008:i:01:n:s0217590808002884 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
    5. Burda, Martin & Harding, Matthew, 2014. "Environmental Justice: Evidence from Superfund cleanup durations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 380-401.
    6. Parry, Ian & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary & Williams III, Roberton, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers dp-05-24, Resources For the Future.
    7. Anna Alberini & Stefania Tonin & Margherita Turvani & Aline Chiabai, 2007. "Paying for permanence: Public preferences for contaminated site cleanup," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 155-178, April.
    8. Forslund, Johanna & Samakovlis, Eva & Johansson, Maria Vredin, 2008. "Is it wise to combine environmental and labour market policies? An analysis of a Swedish subsidy programme," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 547-558, April.
    9. Cass Sunstein & Richard Zeckhauser, 2011. "Overreaction to Fearsome Risks," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 435-449, March.
    10. Forslund, Johanna & Samakovlis, Eva & Vredin Johansson, Maria & Barregård, Lars, 2009. "Does remediation save lives? On the cost of cleaning up arsenic-contaminated sites in Sweden," Working Papers 108, National Institute of Economic Research.
    11. Paul Mohai & Robin Saha, 2006. "Reassessing racial and socioeconomic disparities in environmental justice research," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(2), pages 383-399, May.
    12. Michael Greenstone & Justin Gallagher, 2008. "Does Hazardous Waste Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market and the Superfund Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 951-1003.
    13. Scott Farrow & W. Kip Viscusi, 2013. "Towards principles and standards for the benefit–cost analysis of safety," Chapters,in: Principles and Standards for Benefit–Cost Analysis, chapter 5, pages 172-193 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. A. Myrick Freeman III, 2002. "Environmental Policy Since Earth Day I: What Have We Gained?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 125-146, Winter.
    15. Gayer, Ted & Kip Viscusi, W., 2002. "Housing price responses to newspaper publicity of hazardous waste sites," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 33-51, February.
    16. Stavins, Robert, 2003. "Market-Based Environmental Policies: What Can We Learn from U.S. Experience (and Related Research)?," Discussion Papers dp-03-43, Resources For the Future.
    17. Sigman, Hilary, 2001. "The Pace of Progress at Superfund Sites: Policy Goals and Interest Group Influence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 315-344, April.
    18. David M. Konisky & Tyler S. Schario, 2010. "Examining Environmental Justice in Facility-Level Regulatory Enforcement," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(3), pages 835-855.
    19. Brent Hueth & Tigran Melkonyan, 2009. "Standards and the regulation of environmental risk," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 219-246, December.
    20. Chris Dockins & William Wheeler, 2015. "Lessons from risk assessment, economics, and risk management at EPA," Chapters,in: Benefit–Cost Analyses for Security Policies, chapter 3, pages 63-77 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    21. Pamela Davidson & Douglas Anderton, 2000. "Demographics of dumping ii: a national environmental equity survey and the distribution of hazardous materials handlers," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(4), pages 461-466, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    risks; hazardous waste; cleanups; environmental protection agency;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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