Teaching Policy Instrument Choice in Environmental Law: The Five P's
14 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 3, 2013
While environmental law may appear dauntingly complex, and on occasion truly is, it turns out that understanding instrument choice can be straightforward. Perhaps surprisingly, there are only five basic policy instruments in play, and these can be effectively taught through a simple framework known as “The Five P’s.” Just as a complex sonata can be reduced to a small number of white and black piano keys, so can students’ mastery of the Five P’s allow them to identify the potential range of policy instruments at work in any statute. Despite their application across a dizzying range of situations, the basic environmental policy tools remain the same.
The Five P’s include Prescriptive Regulation, Property Rights, Penalties, Payments, and Persuasion. To be sure, this framework cannot perfectly capture the dizzying range of all environmental policy. The vast majority of instruments, however, do fit easily within the Five P’s framework. As a result, a teacher can easily share the broad range of policy options with students. They, in turn, can then assess which instrument or combination of instruments best fits the particular situation.
The DELPF editors have kindly invited me to set out the Five P’s as a teaching tool for other professors to assign as a class reading or incorporate in their lecture notes. Easy to remember, over the years it has proven a user-friendly and effective approach in the classroom.
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