The Invisible Green Hand

Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Primer No. 7

26 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2009 Last revised: 11 Jun 2014

See all articles by Pierre Desrochers

Pierre Desrochers

University of Toronto - Department of Geography; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Andrew Reed

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 24, 2008

Abstract

As environmental concerns receive heightened public attention, lawmakers are increasingly using regulations to ensure that private businesses adopt environmentally friendly practices. But when it comes to the "greening" of industries, well-intentioned government regulations frequently have unintended consequences, which can actually do more to harm the environment than protect it. While it may seem necessary to regulate industry to achieve certain environmental goals, less-regulated industries actually have a good record of creating innovative ways to deal with their waste.

This Policy Primer argues that corporate self-interest and environmental stewardship are compatible. In the right institutional environment - characterized by the protection of property rights - businesses acting in their own self-interest improve both their bottom line and environmental performance by selling and recycling their harmful waste. Current environmental policy, however, limits green innovation and effectively legalizes pollution.

Keywords: Free-market environmentalism, environmental regulations, property rights

Suggested Citation

Desrochers, Pierre and Reed, Andrew, The Invisible Green Hand (October 24, 2008). Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Primer No. 7 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1358556 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1358556

Pierre Desrochers (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Department of Geography ( email )

Mississauga, Ontario
Canada
(905) 828-5206 (Phone)
(905) 828-5273 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://eratos.erin.utoronto.ca/desrochers/

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Andrew Reed

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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