Economic Valuation and Environmental Toxicology
Edited by Clive L. Spash and Sandra McNally
Chapter 1: Evaluating the impacts of pollution: an introduction and overview
Clive L. Spash CONTENT AND CONTEXT This introductory chapter sets the context within which each of the contributions falls. The aim is to show how different approaches to the management of pollution are being developed by economists while drawing out some of the common themes and problems. Economists are concerned by a wide range of pollutant impacts on the environment as they affect human welfare and not just human health, although this has formed the primary focus of regulatory authorities. The selection in this volume shows economists addressing environmental management of a variety of problems from health impacts to land contamination to ecosystems damages. The interaction between natural science information and economic analysis can be difficult to manage as several contributors explain (Dickie, Spash, Navrud, Falconer and Hodge). In fact, varying degrees of scientific knowledge are employed in economic analyses, although all economic studies have some basis in an understanding of environmental impacts of pollutants. However, the gap between natural and social sciences, when addressing the same issue, often remains large. The studies here show how economists are grappling with the use of scientific information. One drive behind this book was to present a range of ongoing work by economists addressing environmental pollution so that natural scientists working in the areas of ecotoxicology, epidemiology and ecology might gain an understanding of typical economic practice. At the same time the volume aims to provide an opportunity for some reflection by economists as to how they use scientific information and what might...