Review: Winston Harrington, Richard D. Mortgenstern, & Thomas Sterner, (Eds.), Choosing Environmental Policy: Comparing Instruments and Outcomes in the United States and Europe, Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future (2004)
European Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 5, pp. 585-589, 2003 (Appeared Spring 2006)
7 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2006 Last revised: 6 Oct 2008
The debate over the relative merits of the traditional command and control (CAC) approach and the alleged more progressive economic incentive (EI) approach to environmental regulation has been prominent in American politics for the last two decades. The current Administration is clearly a proponent of increased use of economic incentives and reduced CAC regulation by the federal government. But is the choice of environmental policy instrument really a black-and-white choice? Can regulators safely assume that CAC regimes are inherently more expensive for regulated entities and more administratively and informationally demanding to implement than economic incentive schemes, or that economic incentive instruments are inherently more efficient than more traditional regulatory approaches?
This review essay highlights some potential lessons for American environmental policymakers as it explores the research performed by the book's many authors regarding the practical effects of various environmental regulatory programs in the United States and the European Union.
Keywords: regulatory instrument choice, environmental law, environmental policy, policy implementation, European Union, command-and-control, economic incentive
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