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Explaining the Persistence of ‘Command-and-Management’ in US Environmental Legislation

That is the title of a paper just lately posted by Daniel Cole. The summary:

Economists and authorized students have recognized for many years that “financial devices,” together with cap-and-trade regimes and effluent taxes, can scale back emissions at decrease price than command-and-control laws. But, the US system of environmental regulation stays closely dominated by command-and-control. How can we clarify this outstanding persistence?

This paper considers three different explanations: (1) path-dependency; (2) public selection theories of interest-group politics; and (three) social-welfare/financial effectivity. Utilizing examples, primarily from the US Clear Air Act, the paper finds that not one of the three options gives a enough and full rationalization of the persistence of command-and-control. However all three contribute considerably to a complete rationalization.

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