Spots versus stripes? Which do you prefer? Our federal government prefers spots and is moving forward with a million-dollar-a-year plan to remove 9,000 striped owls from western forests.
San Francisco banned disposable plastic grocery bags in 2007. It’s not alone. Several dozen communities around the country have adopted similar policies, all in the name of environmental protection.
Would the EPA be better run by a bipartisan commission? Reform the agency by politicizing it, says PERC board member Steven Hayward.
Matthew Turner is a 2012 PERC Julian Simon Fellow and professor of economics at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the economics of land use and transportation.
Today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v.
I'm in rainy Seattle to give a speech on the Green Tea Party at an environmental conference. Ads for the hotel boast that it has double shower heads, which had me pondering the following:
There is substantial theoretical and empirical
by Todd Myers
The current administration continues to push for cleaner air. That means reducing carbon emissions according to the 2009 EPA ruling that defines carbon dioxide as an air pollutant.
The Washington Post reports the Environmental Protection Agency will release proposed regulations gover
The regulators lost to the regulated yesterday in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency.
This morning I received a CNN “Breaking News” alert that “President Obama said today he is elevating the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level agency.” My first reaction was utter disbelief.
Back in 2007, Congress created a biofuels mandate under which oil companies are required to use a minimum amount of cellulosic ethanol each year. The mandate was supposed to encourage the development of a domestic cellulosic ethanol industry. This has not happened.
At SCOTUSBlog, Lyle Denniston characterizes the oral argument in Sackett v.
Today the Supreme Court hears oral argument in Sackett v. EPA, a challenge to the federal government’s claim that landowners (and other regulated entities) may not obtain pre-enforcement review of an administrative compliance order under the Clean Water Act.
Today the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the REINS Act, a bill to enhance political accountability over regulatory decisions. The bill has two essential features.
One of the hypocrisies of modern environmental law is its double standard of enforcement: strict application to small entrepreneurs, and exemptions for politically powerful players like large industry and municipalities.
The WSJ’s Jess Bravin reports on an interview with recently retired Justice John Paul Stevens in which he defended his “most unpopular opinion” — Kelo v.
Others have commented on President Obama’s decision to punt on the Keystone XL pipeline project.
In 2002, federal reguators predicted it would take between 18-months and three-years for the proposed Cape Wind energy project in Nantucket Sound to receive federal approval.
The Clinton administration signed off on the Roadless Rule [PDF] in 2001 to preserve 58.5 million acres of national forest land by preventing road construction, reconstruction
Last Thursday, at a congressional hearing, Assistant U.S.
PERC's Andrew Morriss appeared on MSNBC last week to discuss green energy and Solyndra with Dylan Ratigan:
Earlier this month President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to shelve a proposal to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone this year.
The New York Times tries to provide some perspective to the renewed debate over the economic effect of envir
Protecting endangered species is hard when you view nature as static. James L. Huffman in the Wall Street Journal:
Bjørn Lomborg draws upon the work of Bruce Yandle of PERC to warn against climate solutions touted by emerging green activist/big business alliances:
Common law legal actions can easily handle the simple case in which one property owner causes obvious harm to another, what about the not-so-simple case?.
The most significant environmental case of the Supreme Court’s just-concluded term was American Electric Power v.
Cap and trade, a favorite of statists and even many economists who otherwise are not statists, continues to be touted as a great sc
No politics. No advocacy. Just boots-on-the-ground work.
Last week I joined Andy Nash on InsideAcademia.tv for a short discussion on "Sus
Cross-posted at Grist.A recent post on Grist attempted to dismantle the intellectual foundations of free market environmentalism—the application of markets and property rights to solve environmental problems. But far from toppling a burgeoning movement within modern environmentalism, it succeeded only in misrepresenting the subject.To recap: Clark Williams-Derry claimed that while free market environmentalism may be effective in some areas of the environment (e.g., fisheries management), its reliance upon unrealistic assumptions about the real world largely relegates it to useless intellectual theorizing. In particular, the Coase theorem—an important component of market-based environmentalism named for Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase—amounts to “a quirky but not particularly relevant bit of theoretical math.”While there is certainly much more to free market environmentalism than the work of Coase (see Terry Anderson and Donald Leal’s book Free Market Environmentalism for more details), I focus here mostly on the misinformed critique of Coase that has been used to discredit free market environmentalism.So, who is Coase, what is his theorem, and what does it have to do with free market environmentalism?
PERC Senior Fellow Bruce Yandle orginated the theory of Bootleggers and Baptists in the early 1980s. In essence, two different groups suppor the same, regulations, but benefit from different effects of the regulation. Has anything changed?
Today, the great economist and Nobel laureate Ronald Coase will celebrate his 100th birthday. Coase’s work has revolutionized the way economists view resource conflicts.
by Pete GeddesI have several hockey-playing friends who simply cannot understand my opposition to government subsidies for “green” energy. They question my belief that the market process is likely to generate environmentally and ethically superior results and default to describing me as a “market fundamentalist.” If you find yourself in a similar situation, I’d like to offer the following for your consideration.In addition to several empirical arguments against government intervention, I think it's important to explain the philosophical underpinnings for my preference for markets over mandates. I start with these insights from 1974 Nobel Laureate F.A.Hayek:The knowledge problem In modern societies, knowledge of time- and place-specific conditions is dispersed among millions of individuals. Consumers and producers communicate their desires through prices. Markets then allocate resources -- labor, capital, and human ingenuity -- in a manner that can’t be anticipated or mimicked by a central plan (or planner.)This fundamental insight is found in Hayek’s essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society." What is the problem we wish to solve when we try to construct a rational economic order? On certain familiar assumptions the answer is simple enough. If we possess all the relevant information, if we can start out from a given system of preferences, and if we command complete knowledge of available means, the problem which remains is purely one of logic. This piece explains why large scale economic planning fails. It is because the social world does not consist of physical objects governed by simple laws of causality, but is a ‘kaleidic’ world inhabited by individuals with minds, whose inner recesses are inaccessible to the external observer, where knowledge is not ‘fixed’ and available to a single person or institution. (Another essential critique is found in the work of János Kornai.)Here's an example from the American West: Between 1933 and 1938 the Columbia Basin Project (CBP) impounded water behind the Grand Coulee Dam. It was to provide irrigation and power to 100,000 family farms, and turn the desert of eastern Washington into lush farmland. Two generations later, only a few thousand farmers and corporations work the irrigated land--at great cost to taxpayers and the environment. What was the problem? Planners designed policies for an unknown future, the only kind we have. The CBP plans did not anticipate changes in technology such as the replacement of horses by tractors. The tractors, tillers, and harvesters all became much, much larger and faster. This led to huge consolidation rather than 40-acre farms. Social preferences are even more difficult to predict (e.g., for healthy runs of wild salmon instead of more dams for irrigation).“Product of human action but not human design…”My progressive friends are firm believers in the theory of evolution and are highly dismissive of alternative explains, except when considering social policy. I find this intriguing, but not surprising.The idea that things exist in the world that are the product of human action but not human design is highly unintuitive. In Hayek’s 1967 essay, “The Principles of a Liberal Social Order,” he explores this:
Paul Schwennesen recently appeared on Fox Business to discuss food safety. Paul offers more comments on the issue below.We all want safe food. Question is, how do we get it? “There oughta be a law,” seems to be the generally conceived approach, as evidenced by recent passage of the now-famous food safety bill. A tidy and altogether comforting solution: simply slay the beast of dangerous food with the bludgeon of enlightened bureaucracy. But for the food advocates who support this kind of top-down solution, beware. The kind of government meddling that created cheap-at-any-cost is now about to do the same for “safe” food.But isn’t food safety a pressing concern, a public health problem we can’t afford to fool around with? The problem is, the problem isn’t. Emotional rants that “thousands die every year!” do not help us grapple with the scope or magnitude of this alleged threat. Let’s try some perspective: according to the Centers for Disease Control, the estimated number of deaths caused by food borne illness numbers around five thousand a year. Sounds pretty bad, eh? Time to call in the Salmonella SWAT team? Before you do, consider that the same number of people die by intentionally strangling themselves each year. Or that the same number of people die from Alzheimer’s in California alone each year. Or that four times that number die each year accidentally falling off of things. Moreover, 70% of food borne illnesses result from poor food handling procedures during preparation. Unless you’re also on a crusade to flatten everything or cure Alzheimer’s, I’d think twice about ceding greater authority of our food system to centralized management.True to form, Congress has blithely offered its professional problem-solving services to rid us of the menace of deadly food. And, true to form, it’s about to embark on another unarmed expedition into the tortuous territory of unintended consequences.
Here are the latest lectures from PERC scholars.1. Bruce Yandle - "Bootleggers, Baptists, and the Government Habit" [vimeo 16505920]
by Laura HugginsDon't miss PERC's Executive Director, Terry Anderson, discussing free market environmentalism on C-SPAN. He models some funny hats too!
by Paul SchwennesenI squandered a beautiful Colorado morning in CSU's ballroom yesterday. Around 2,000 of us were there to provide first-hand testimony to Attorney General Holder and USDA Secretary Vilsack about the growing concerns over consolidation in the meat-packing industry.While most of us were wearing hats, I noticed an awful lot of them were in hands, not on heads. Appealing for help to the 'Suits on the Podium,' about a third of the audience was unashamedly suggesting that the Government come in and rescue the small family rancher.Look, I'm as concerned about the demise of a way of life as the next man. I'm as disgusted with the decrease in cattle prices as anyone else. I too wish ranchers could make the same returns as thirty years ago. I don't like that 80% of the meat-packing industry is in the hands of four conglomerates. But where I part ways with some of the crowd is in my view of the solutions to these issues.Asking government to break the back of "Big Meat" is like asking your hangman to pull the next guy's lever first.There seems to be an increasingly prevalent view that "something is going on" in the cattle market, that "Big Meat" is brandishing unfair market leverage which screws the little guy. And don't get me wrong: I'd be the first to rally if a Federal probe unearthed findings that Cargill, Tyson, National or JBS was engaged in price-fixing, collusion, or fraud. But I'm afraid that after 6 hours of public testimony, I got no inkling of such manipulations. What I got was an inkling that some of us would rather see higher prices for our cattle (no kidding?), that ranchers get a "fair shake" (whatever that means), and that the big guys open their books to their private transactions to let the rest of us see what's going on. These might sound good, but will they really solve the problem?