Theory, Methods and Public Policy
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller
Chapter 18: Rural Policy Issues
Joan M. Brehm Several fundamental issues underlie the papers in this book: 1. 2. 3. 4. How do we identify or deﬁne a natural amenity? At what scale is a value aﬀorded to that amenity? What level of policy is most eﬀective in the protection or management of that natural amenity? Who bears the cost/burden of natural amenity protection? IDENTIFYING OR DEFINING A NATURAL AMENITY Before any discussion of policy is undertaken it is critical to be clear in our understanding of how we identify or deﬁne a natural amenity. In light of this, several issues deserve consideration. First, a basic recognition of the role that culture plays in our relationships to natural amenities and the formation of values that we place on them are essential. Several of the chapters demonstrated this very well but it is something that needs further attention. For example, a recent paper indicated that there were statistically signiﬁcant diﬀerences between Mormon and non-Mormon populations on a variety of measures of local environmental concern. The paper shows that the Mormon faith and its embedded cultural components were meaningful predictors of comparably low levels of local environmental concern within the region studied (Brehm and Eisenhauer 2004). Variations in concern over the local context may also reﬂect underlying variations in how individuals deﬁne or identify natural amenities. The signiﬁcance of this in relation to policy is the need to account for regional variations in culture and associated disparities in...
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