Finding Better Words: Markets, Property Rights, and Resources

Washington Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, Vol. 11, 2021

Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-39

51 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020 Last revised: 2 Jun 2021

See all articles by Andrew P. Morriss

Andrew P. Morriss

Texas A&M School of Innovation; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Roger E. Meiners

University of Texas at Arlington

Bruce Yandle

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Date Written: August 12, 2020

Abstract

To use or conserve environmental and natural resources effectively is complex. Many economists believe that institutional solutions built around markets and property rights can help improve results. This approach addresses what Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto termed the “missing lessons of U.S. history” – institutions whose designers may not have understood the outcomes that would occur, but the results were generally beneficial. However, technical economic analysis generally fails to persuade many at the policy level. Adding a focus on the practicality of solving issues by voluntary action will enrich the policy discussions. To do so requires economists to provide concrete examples of how to resolve environmental issues.

In this Article, we contrast the narratives given to support markets and property rights and state-centered solutions. The analysis suggests how to frame issues to increase opportunities for market and property rights solutions to be more broadly considered. In short, economists must stop talking past the dedicated environmentalists who have learned to communicate effectively with the public but often lack practical tools that economists can provide, Better narratives allow economists to join the public conversation successfully.

Keywords: environmental law, law & economics, economic rhetoric

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Morriss, Andrew P. and Meiners, Roger E. and Yandle, Thomas, Finding Better Words: Markets, Property Rights, and Resources (August 12, 2020). Washington Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, Vol. 11, 2021, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-39, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3673465 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3673465

Andrew P. Morriss (Contact Author)

Texas A&M School of Innovation ( email )

1249 TAMU / 645 Lamar St.
College Station, TX 77843
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Roger E. Meiners

University of Texas at Arlington ( email )

415 S West St Apt no 205
Arlington, TX 76013
United States

Thomas Yandle

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States
864-656-3970 (Phone)
864-656-4192 (Fax)

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