The University of Wisconsin Press

Environmental Science


Buying a Better Environment
Cost-Effective Regulation through Permit Trading
Edited by Erhard F. Joeres and Martin H. David

Land Economics Monographs

The literature on the application of market mechanisms to environmental regulation is a recent one. It resulted from the realization in the late 1960s and early 1970s that a concerted national effort would be required to achieve harmony between the various forces affecting environmental management. Once this imperative was understood, the difficult next phase of determining ways to translate this fundamental understanding into environmental policy brought forth a variety of suggestions and approaches. A principal one among them is that the assimilative carrying capacity of the environment, once legally defined, quite naturally becomes a property right, and consequently social welfare can best be achieved through creating markets in these rights.


Buying a Better Environment are the proceedings of a national conference on “Regulatory Reform, Transferable Permits and Enhancement of Environmental Quality.” The agenda was to define the domain and dimensions of market structures for the environmental applications currently being contemplated. Issues addressed include the definition of pollution rights; their spatial variability; distributional matters relating to permit issuance, trading and benefit accounting; and stochastic quantities to be considered in demand for the use and response of the environment. Questions of market participation, permit pricing, institutional behavior and political perceptions were also considered in varying degrees.


An examination of the papers in this book will reveal an extraordinary range of creative endeavor. Such a catholic view of new ideas about market structures applied to environmental regulation is not available from any other single source, and it is for this reason that this book was published.

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April 1983
296 pp.
ISBN-10: 0-299-95040-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-95040-8
Cloth $27.50 s
ISBN-10: 0-299-95044-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-95044-6
Paper $9.95

Both cloth and paper editions of this book are out of print.

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