IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/27683.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A History of Pricing Pollution (Or, Why Pigouvian Taxes are not Necessarily Pigouvian)

Author

Listed:
  • H. Spencer Banzhaf

Abstract

The standard history of modern environmental economics often views it as an application of A.C. Pigou's theory of externalities, refined over the decades and applied to environmental problems in the 1960s, when the first detailed pro-posals for pricing pollution were outlined by Allen Kneese, Thomas Crocker, John Dales, and others. However, the historical literature has noted problems with this narrative, including a 30-year gap in discussions of such applications and few actual citations to Pigou. This paper offers a simple explanation for this puzzle: Namely, pollution pricing is not (necessarily) Pigouvian. It argues that the early applied literature on the topic was rooted more in questions about common property resources and increasing returns from developing natural re-sources. Both topics were treated by broad literatures by the 1960s, including distinctly American traditions not particularly associated with Pigou.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2020. "A History of Pricing Pollution (Or, Why Pigouvian Taxes are not Necessarily Pigouvian)," NBER Working Papers 27683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27683
    Note: EEE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w27683.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:nbr:nberwo:27683. 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: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.