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Environmental Natural Resources Law

Comparative Environmental Regulation in the United States by Lada V. Kochtcheeva

By Lada V. Kochtcheeva

Explores how coverage actors within the usa and Russia have built versatile incentive-based tools for environmental safeguard.

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Additional info for Comparative Environmental Regulation in the United States and Russia: Institutions, Flexible Instruments, and Governance (Global Environmental Policy)

Example text

For environmental quality control and problems of externalities, Pigou (1920) defined the optimal level of pollution consistent with maximizing social welfare, where appropriate instruments, such as taxes, can be used to internalize externalities. Dahl and Lindblom (1953) laid the foundation for the political study of policy instruments and identified four main tools of control: market, or price system, polyarchy, or democratic institutions, bargaining, and hierarchy. A mix of these tools used by the government was seen as leading to the “maximal achievement” of social goals.

This would also give the polluters an incentive to abate and a choice of changing their behavior. The better the polluters abate emissions, the better off they are financially: “the less it emits, the less its tax bill” (Baumol and Oates 1979, 237). In reality, the calculation of a tax is not a simple thing. Even though governments can collect some information, assess the risks to society, and decide on a tax rate, the application of a tax will not fully internalize the negative externalities, owing to the difficulties in measuring the marginal external costs, interest group rivalry, and especially political expediency in the policy process (Helm 2000; Hackett 2001).

The instrumental approach can also assess the characteristics of policy tools emphasizing the degree of coerciveness, which is rooted in political structure and ideological commitments (Linder and Peters 1998). Efforts to explain policy instrument emergence turn to the notion of national policy styles, which range from bargaining to imposition (Richardson 1983). Still another way to look at policy instruments is to focus on major policy functions by either linking different methods of governmental intervention to various political processes (Lowi 1972) or treating instruments as determinants of political process or programmatic policy success (Pressman and Wildavsky 1984).

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