Environmental Law Research Paper

Law Journals and Law Reviews are good resources for finding out about recent hot topics as well as collecting citations to find out more. The environmental law journals and law reviews below are available at HeinOnline.

  • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review
    Vols. 1-38 (1971-2011)
    Environmental Affairs is a multidisciplinary scholarly journal which seeks to develop further an intelligent interchange on the recognition and solution of environmental problems.
  • PACE Environmental Law Review
    Vols. 1-29#1 (1983-2011)
    The Pace Environmental Law Review provides a forum for discussion and analysis of environmental law issues.
  • Southeastern Environmental Law Journal
    Vols. 1-19 (1991-2011)
    The Southeastern Environmental Law Journal serves as a valuable forum in discovering and developing new ways to preserve natural resources, protect citizens, and discuss the vast topics of environmental law and policy. It is published by a student editorial board at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Environmental Law and Policy

Richard L. Revesz, Robert Stavins

NBER Working Paper No. 13575
Issued in November 2007
NBER Program(s):Environment and Energy Economics

This chapter for the Handbook of Law and Economics provides an economic perspective of environmental law and policy. We examine the ends of environmental policy, that is, the setting of goals and targets, beginning with normative issues, notably the Kaldor-Hicks criterion and the related method of assessment known as benefit-cost analysis. We examine this analytical method in detail, including its theoretical foundations and empirical methods of estimation of compliance costs and environmental benefits. We review critiques of benefit-cost analysis, and examine alternative approaches to analyzing the goals of environmental policies.

We examine the means of environmental policy, that is, the choice of specific policy instruments, beginning with an examination of potential criteria for assessing alternative instruments, with particular focus on cost-effectiveness. The theoretical foundations and experiential highlights of individual instruments are reviewed, including conventional, command-and-control mechanisms, market-based instruments, and liability rules. Three cross-cutting issues receive attention: uncertainty; technological change; and distributional considerations. We identify normative lessons in regard to design, implementation, and the identification of new applications, and we examine positive issues: the historical dominance of command-and-control; the prevalence in new proposals of tradeable permits allocated without charge; and the relatively recent increase in attention given to market-based instruments.

We also examine the question of how environmental responsibility is and should be allocated among the various levels of government. We provide a positive review of the responsibilities of Federal, state, and local levels of government in the environmental realm, plus a normative assessment of this allocation of regulatory responsibility. We focus on three arguments that have been made for Federal environmental regulation: competition among political jurisdictions and the race to the bottom; transboundary environmental problems; and public choice and systematic bias.


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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13575

Published: Richard L. Revesz' Environmental Law and Policy, 2nd Ed. (University Casebook Series®)

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