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Property Rights and Environmental Policy: A New Zealand Perspective

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Abstract

This paper is intended to lay out a preliminary foundation for applying a property rights perspective to environmental policy issues facing New Zealand. It does not attempt to apply such an approach to any specific issue. Rather it summarises the core principles behind effective rights regimes (illustrated by the evolution of rights over time), reviews how such regimes have been applied to environmental issues internationally, and describes current natural resource rights regimes in New Zealand. The purpose of applying property rights to the environment can vary widely and reflect quite different perspectives. Regulation by any form, however, whether command-and-control or market-based, creates or modifies property rights. While private property rights will not always be appropriate, the alternatives redefine and reallocate rights rather than eliminating them. A common or public property right remains a right held by someone. The choice is not therefore whether to modify property rights to improve environmental outcomes, but how to do so in a way that optimises national welfare. However, if more use of market-based instruments is appropriate, then the work required to create the legal, institutional and scientific framework to successfully implement them (including trading off social, economic and environmental outcomes) should not be under-estimated. Fishing and water rights demonstrate these difficulties and the payoff (for fisheries at least) that can be achieved.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Guerin, 2003. "Property Rights and Environmental Policy: A New Zealand Perspective," Treasury Working Paper Series 03/02, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:03/02
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    File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2003/03-02/twp03-02.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. I.Omar & W. Djurjani & N. D. Prijono, 2009. "Transaction cost analysis in redeveloping indigenous lands in Malaysia," Economia. Seria Management, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 12(1), pages 21-40, June.
    2. Parminter, Terry G., 2010. "A Description of Voluntary Policy Methods for Natural Resource Management," 2010 Conference, August 26-27, 2010, Nelson, New Zealand 96950, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    3. Bogdan Glăvan, 2007. "Eliminating environmental problems: from discretionary policy to market solutions," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 2(4), pages 41-45, Winter.
    4. Ismail OMAR & Djurdjani WARDAYA & priyono Nugroho DJOJOMARTONO, 2009. "The Role Of Land Rights In Urban Heritage Management – The Explanatory Power Of Institutional Economics Analysis In The Reconstruction Of Cultural Heritage Of Kotagede Yogyakarta, Indonesia’S Post Ear," Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 4(1S), pages 60-75, April.
    5. Hawke, Richard, 2006. "Improving the Water Allocation Framework in New Zealand," Occasional Papers 06/9, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Property Rights; Transferability; Market Based Instruments (MBI); Environmental Policy; New Zealand;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land

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