The Assessment: Environmental Policy?Objectives, Instruments, and Institutions

Posted: 21 Feb 1999

See all articles by Dieter Helm

Dieter Helm

Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA) Consulting Ltd.

Abstract

The article provides a critique of British environmental policy, focusing in particular on the role of sustainable development as an organizing principle, the use of cost?benefit analysis (CBA) and economic instruments, and the design of the institutions responsible for implementing policy. It is argued that, while considerable progress has been made in the theoretical literature to define sustainable development, successive governments in the UK have widened the definition to the point where it provides little guidance for policy. Obstacles to the use of CBA are discussed, as are the political constraints on implementing economic instruments?in particular, the income effect. Finally, it is argued that the institutional design of the Environment Agency and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions partly explains the overwhelming reliance on command-and-control regulation.

JEL Classification: Q28, Q38

Suggested Citation

Helm, Dieter, The Assessment: Environmental Policy?Objectives, Instruments, and Institutions. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=148496

Dieter Helm (Contact Author)

Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA) Consulting Ltd. ( email )

Alfred Street
Oxford OX1 4EH
United Kingdom

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