Coase and Environmental Externalities

With the recent passing of Ronald Coase, much tribute has rightly been given to his inordinate contributions to the world of economics, here by Peter Boetkke and here by Patrick Lyons of the NYT.  I’m not an economist and don’t even pretend to be one on TV, but have followed and appreciated Coase’s contributions to the scholarship of environmental policy involving the economic problem of environmental externalities.  Most modern economists, save Coase, believe that environmental pollution is the result of market failure.  Adler has a good piece today on Coase’s rejection of the concept of externalities and corrects those who may misunderstand or misinterpret Coase’s argument.  According to Coase, when property rights are clear and well-defined, contracting parties, including the polluter, will allocate resources effectively and efficiently, as the economic benefits and costs – read environmental – are fully borne by the effected parties.  This idea was coined the Coase TheoremContinue reading

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Free-market Environmentalism – Creating Sustainable Incentives

Great article today by Brad Plumer of WaPo regarding my friend, Jonathan Adler, arguing why conservatives can also be environmentalists.  Adler is a strong proponent of using private property rights to create the right incentives for promoting efficient and cost-effective imagesCA9LY8G3conservation – taking a more libertarian approach as I discussed previously here.   Adler has written extensively on free-market environmentalism.   On climate change, something which many conservatives respond to about as well as swallowing a hair ball, Adler is fully consistent in his argument. Continue reading

The GOP’s Environmental Challenge

Can one be a social conservative or member of the GOP and be an environmentalist?  Although I’ve long argued what I believe to be the fundamental distinction between being an environmentalist and a conservationist – and perhaps that’s arguing the number of angelic beings dancing on the head of a pin – the obvious answer to the above question is a resounding yes.  To me, it’s a rather silly question, but it’s one with legs.  As with other social and cultural issues, the GOP’s environmental positioning has long been on the losing side of public sentiment, rhetoric and imagery. Continue reading