The objectives that motivated the first edition of this volume were first of all to show how economic analysis can be used to address certain vital issues in an area that had been notably neglected by economics; and second, in doing so, to introduce relevant economic information into the debate over how the issues should be resolved. The effort, we believe, has been largely successful. Although all of the issues that were addressed in the first edition have by now been resolved, the tack taken in some cases was sufficiently novel and approach to the problems sufficiently distinctive to continue to serve students in natural resources and environmental economics courses. With a new printing required to keep the volume in print, we felt certain things should be done to bring the volume up to date. Hence, this revised edition.
One matter deals with the theoretical developments that have occurred over the many years since the Arrow-Fisher paper on environmental preservation, uncertainty, and irreversibility--on which chapter 4 of the first edition was partially based--was originally published. Thus, section 3 of chapter 4 has been completely reworked to include these developments.
Another area demanding attention, as suggested by calls from teaching faculty, was: "So what happened next?--The students want to know." This is understandable, given the celebrated set of cases we worked with. It, therefore, seemed a good idea to summarize briefly the outcomes. This we have done in an afterword.
Another reason for providing such a summary is to underscore the fact that a set of studies which meets the standards for use in academic curricula, ought not to be dismissed out of hand as "ivory tower" by program officers who have lost the inclination to read. We are convinced that high quality analysis can also affect the outcome of policy debate. Indeed, it is the only kind that should.
April 1985 J. V.K.