Applying Economics to the Environment

Front Cover
Applying Economics to the Environment is distinguished from other books on environmental economics by its breadth of coverage and its in-depth discussions of several key topics. The book's broad scope includes a chapter on how models of the natural world interact with economic models in ways that are central to the conclusions economists reach. It devotes a chapter to contingent valuation, currently the hottest topic in the field. It also contains a chapter on monitoring and enforcement, a topic often completely ignored but central to considerations of instrument choice. In addition, the final four chapters deal with the special problems of developing countries and the environment, both their own and our shared global systems. In terms of depth, the book's discussion of contingent valuation and related "direct" damage or benefit estimation techniques is unmatched outside the specialist literature. Its coverage of the choices available among policy instruments goes far beyond the usual simple discussions contrasting what is misleadingly known as "command control" with so-called economic or market-based instruments. This coverage reveals the complexity of the choice and the range of alternatives available. It also presents several of the newer ideas, in particular the use of publicly available information as a tool of environmental policy. Applying Economics to the Environment is intended to serve a dual market of upper-level college course programs in environmental economics as well as engineering and public policy courses that focus on the environment. The book can also provide an enlightening perspective for practicing professionals. Because the text includes a relatively sophisticated presentation of economic analysis, the author includes a full-chapter review of relevant microeconomic concepts. Some other features that further distinguish this book from currently available titles on the subject are: an introduction to the history of environmental policy and legislation; a comparison of approaches to the uncertain choice between development and preservation; and an example of regional cost benefit analysis.

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About the author (2001)

Clifford S. Russell is at Vanderbilt University.