learning objectivesAfter reading this chapter you will be familiar with the following:
• the economic rationale for environmental regulations;
• general criteria used for evaluating a specific environmental policy instrument;
• deterring environmental abuse through liability laws;
• the Coasian theorem and its implications for environmental regulations;
• emission standards as a policy tool for regulating environment pollution;
• the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its legal mandates in setting emission standards.
The tragedy of the commons as a food basket is averted by private property, or something formally like it. But the air and waters surrounding us cannot readily be fenced, and so the tragedy of the commons as a cesspool must be prevented by different means, by coercive laws or taxing devices that make it cheaper for the polluter to treat his pollutants than to discharge them untreated.