IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/rffdps/10849.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Political Economy of Environmental Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Oates, Wallace E.
  • Portney, Paul R.

Abstract

This paper provides a review and assessment of the extensive literature on the political determination of environmental regulation. A promising theoretical literature has emerged relatively recently that provides models of the political interaction of government with various interest groups in the setting of environmental standards and the choice of regulatory instruments. A large empirical literature supports such models, finding evidence of the influence of interest groups but also evidence that net social benefits are often an important determinant of environmental policy choices. We then take up the issue of environmental federalism and the large and growing theoretical literature that addresses the competitive "race to the bottom." The paper concludes with a brief look at the evolution of environmental policy and finds that economics has come to play a growing role both in the setting of standards for environmental quality and in the design of regulatory measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Oates, Wallace E. & Portney, Paul R., 2001. "The Political Economy of Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers 10849, Resources for the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:rffdps:10849
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.10849
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/10849/files/dp010055.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.22004/ag.econ.10849?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fredriksson, Per G & Gaston, Noel, 2000. "Environmental Governance in Federal Systems: The Effects of Capital Competition and Lobby Groups," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(3), pages 501-514, July.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    3. Buchanan, James M & Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "Polluters' Profits and Political Response: Direct Controls Versus Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 139-147, March.
    4. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W.H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1997. "Revenue-Raising versus Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Preexisting Tax Distortions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 708-731, Winter.
    5. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-296, June.
    6. Wildasin, David E., 1989. "Interjurisdictional capital mobility: Fiscal externality and a corrective subsidy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 193-212, March.
    7. Dewees, Donald N, 1983. "Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 53-71, January.
    8. Bergstrom, Ted C, 1979. " When Does Majority Rule Supply Public Goods Efficiently?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 216-226.
    9. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
    10. Gert T. Svendsen, 1998. "public choice and environmental regulation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1298.
    11. Pashigian, B Peter, 1985. "Environmental Regulation: Whose Self-interests Are Being Protected?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(4), pages 551-584, October.
    12. Stef Proost & John B. Braden (ed.), 1998. "Climate Change, Transport and Environmental Policy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1276.
    13. Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Assessing the Empirical Impact of Environmental Federalism," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 711-733, November.
    14. Esty, Daniel C. & Geradin, Damien (ed.), 2001. "Regulatory Competition and Economic Integration: Comparative Perspectives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198299059.
    15. Murdoch, James C. & Sandler, Todd, 1997. "The voluntary provision of a pure public good: The case of reduced CFC emissions and the Montreal Protocol," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 331-349, February.
    16. Wellisch,Dietmar, 2000. "Theory of Public Finance in a Federal State," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521630351.
    17. Fredriksson, Per G., 1997. "The Political Economy of Pollution Taxes in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 44-58, May.
    18. Nicolas Wallart, 1999. "The Political Economy of Environmental Taxes," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1876.
    19. Courant, Paul N., 1994. "How Would You Know a Good Economic Policy if You Tripped Over One? Hint: Don't Just Count Jobs," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(4), pages 863-881, December.
    20. Marcel Boyer & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1999. "Toward a Political Theory of the Emergence of Environmental Incentive Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 137-157, Spring.
    21. John A. Hird, 1990. "Superfund expenditures and cleanup priorities: Distributive politics or the public interest?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 455-483.
    22. Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2005. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023894.
      • Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2000. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521660839.
    23. Martin, Wade E. & Shields, Deborah J. & Tolwinski, Boleslaw & Kent, Brian, 1996. "An application of social choice theory to U.S.D.A. forest service decision making," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 603-621, December.
    24. Elliott, E Donald & Ackerman, Bruce A & Millian, John C, 1985. "Toward a Theory of Statutory Evolution: The Federalization of Environmental Law," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 313-340, Fall.
    25. R. H. Coase, 2013. "The Problem of Social Cost," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 837-877.
    26. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    27. repec:reg:rpubli:234 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), 1987. "Handbook of Public Economics," Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 2, number 2.
    29. Aidt, Toke S., 1998. "Political internalization of economic externalities and environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-16, July.
    30. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
    31. Robert W. Hahn, 1998. "Policy Watch: Government Analysis of the Benefits and Costs of Regulation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 201-210, Fall.
    32. David Pearce, 1998. "Environmental Appraisal and Environmental Policy in the European Union," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 489-501, April.
    33. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    34. Congleton, Roger D, 1992. "Political Institutions and Pollution Control," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 412-421, August.
    35. Bouwe R. Dijkstra, 1999. "The Political Economy of Environmental Policy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1636.
    36. Oates, Wallace E. & Schwab, Robert M., 1988. "Economic competition among jurisdictions: efficiency enhancing or distortion inducing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 333-354, April.
    37. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(2), pages 269-304, June.
    38. John B. Braden & Stef Proost (ed.), 1997. "The Economic Theory of Environmental Policy in a Federal System," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 938.
    39. Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1987. "The economics of the local public sector," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 11, pages 571-645, Elsevier.
    40. Schneider, Friedrich & Volkert, Juergen, 1999. "No chance for incentive-oriented environmental policies in representative democracies? A Public Choice analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 123-138, October.
    41. Hahn, Robert W, 1990. "The Political Economy of Environmental Regulation: Towards a Unifying Framework," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 21-47, April.
    42. Cropper, Maureen L. & William N. Evans & Stephen J. Berard & Maria M. Ducla-Soares & Paul R. Portney, 1992. "The Determinants of Pesticide Regulation: A Statistical Analysis of EPA Decision Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 175-197, February.
    43. Courant, Paul N., 1994. "How Would You Know a Good Economic Policy If You Tripped Over One? Hint: Don't Just Count Jobs," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(4), pages 863-81, December.
    44. Randall Bluffstone & Bruce A. Larson (ed.), 1997. "Controlling Pollution in Transition Economies," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1123.
    45. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1998. "Subsidiarity and the European Union," NBER Working Papers 6556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    46. Daniel McFadden, 1976. "The Revealed Preferences of a Government Bureaucracy: Empirical Evidence," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 55-72, Spring.
    47. Peltzman, Sam, 1976. "Toward a More General Theory of Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 211-240, August.
    48. Richard O. Zerbe & Howard E. McCurdy, 1999. "The failure of market failure," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 558-578.
    49. Maloney, Michael T & McCormick, Robert E, 1982. "A Positive Theory of Environmental Quality Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 99-123, April.
    50. Paul Ekins & Stefan Speck, 1999. "Competitiveness and Exemptions From Environmental Taxes in Europe," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(4), pages 369-396, June.
    51. George R. Zodrow & Peter Mieszkowski, 2019. "Pigou, Tiebout, Property Taxation, and the Underprovision of Local Public Goods," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: George R Zodrow (ed.), TAXATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE Selected Essays of George R. Zodrow, chapter 17, pages 525-542, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    52. Arvind Panagariya & Paul R. Portney & Robert M. Schwab (ed.), 1999. "environmental and public economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1287.
    53. Wallace E. Oates, 1996. "The Economics of Environmental regulation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 341.
    54. Ian W.H. Parry & Wallace E. Oates, 2000. "Policy analysis in the presence of distorting taxes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 603-613.
    55. Daniel McFadden, 1975. "The Revealed Preferences of a Government Bureaucracy: Theory," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 401-416, Autumn.
    56. 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.
    57. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
    58. Seskin, Eugene P. & Anderson, Robert Jr. & Reid, Robert O., 1983. "An empirical analysis of economic strategies for controlling air pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 112-124, June.
    59. John B. Braden & Henk Folmer & Thomas S. Ulen (ed.), 1996. "Environmental Policy with Political and Economic Integration," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 75.
    60. David J. Bjornstad & James R. Kahn (ed.), 1996. "The Contingent Valuation of Environmental Resources," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 731.
    61. Fredriksson, Per G. & Millimet, Daniel L., 2002. "Strategic Interaction and the Determination of Environmental Policy across U.S. States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 101-122, January.
    62. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
    63. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stavins, Robert, 2004. "Introduction to the Political Economy of Environmental Regulations," Discussion Papers dp-04-12, Resources For the Future.
    2. Oates, Wallace E., 2001. "A Reconsideration of Environmental Federalism," Discussion Papers 10460, Resources for the Future.
    3. James Alm & H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2012. "Designing Economic Instruments For The Environment In A Decentralized Fiscal System," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 177-202, April.
    4. Wallace E. Oates, 2002. "Fiscal and Regulatory Competition: Theory and Evidence," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(4), pages 377-390, November.
    5. Oates, Wallace E., 2001. "Fiscal competition and European Union: contrasting perspectives," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2-3), pages 133-145, April.
    6. María A. García-Valiñas, 2004. "Environmental federalism: a proposal of decentralization," ERSA conference papers ersa04p492, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Parry, Ian W. H., 2003. "How large are the welfare costs of tax competition?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 39-60, July.
    8. Rauscher, Michael, 2001. "International trade, foreign investment, and the environment," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 29, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    9. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
    10. Stavins, Robert & Keohane, Nathaniel & Revesz, Richard, 1997. "The Positive Political Economy of Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers dp-97-25, Resources For the Future.
    11. Levinson, Arik, 2003. "Environmental Regulatory Competition: A Status Report and Some New Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 56(1), pages 91-106, March.
    12. Yu-Bong Lai, 2009. "Is a Double Dividend Better than a Single Dividend?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(2), pages 342-363, June.
    13. Millimet, Daniel L., 2013. "Environmental Federalism: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7831, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Leo Wangler & Juan-Carlos Altamirano-Cabrera & Hans-Peter Weikard, 2013. "The political economy of international environmental agreements: a survey," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 387-403, September.
    15. Maria Garcia-Valiñas, 2007. "What level of decentralization is better in an environmental context? An application to water policies," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 213-229, October.
    16. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Therese J. McGuire, 2001. "Tax incentives and the city," Economics Working Papers 631, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2001.
    17. Cassette, Aurélie & Paty, Sonia, 2006. "La concurrence fiscale entre communes est-elle plus intense en milieu urbain qu’en milieu rural ?," Cahiers d'Economie et de Sociologie Rurales (CESR), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), vol. 78.
    18. George R. Zodrow, 2019. "Intrajurisdictional Capitalization and the Incidence of the Property Tax," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: George R Zodrow (ed.), TAXATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE Selected Essays of George R. Zodrow, chapter 16, pages 489-522, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    19. David E. Wildasin, 2000. "Factor mobility and fiscal policy in the EU: policy issues and analytical approaches," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(31), pages 338-378.
    20. Benoît Le Maux, 2009. "Governmental behavior in representative democracy: a synthesis of the theoretical literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 447-465, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:ags:rffdps:10849. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/rffffus.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/rffffus.html .

    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.