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The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2003/2004

A Survey of Current Issues

Edited by Henk Folmer and Tom Tietenberg

This major annual publication provides a state-of-the-art survey of contemporary research on environmental and resource economics by some of the leading experts in the field.
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Chapter 8: The choice of pollution control policy instruments in developing countries: arguments, evidence and suggestions

Clifford S. Russell and William J. Vaughan


Clifford S. Russell and William J. Vaughan 1. BACKGROUND Concern about the environmental costs of economic development is now both widespread and intense. At one extreme, environmental deterioration, as through air and water pollution and deforestation, is seen as an unavoidable cost of industrialization, urbanization and the growth of consumption (and the change in its composition) that are at the heart of ‘development’ in the common use of the word. At the other, strongly influenced by the notion of ‘sustainability’ that has been developed since the Bruntland Report (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987), is the view that the environmental degradation being accepted by developing countries may well be enough to prevent them from continuing on a development path. Deterioration of natural resources and the health costs of pollution may together overwhelm such growth momentum as has been generated by local and global policies and events. Somewhere in the middle of this polyphonic chorus of projection and advice lies the work on ‘environmental Kuznets curves’, cross-section phenomena that seem to promise the possibility, at least, that growth and environmental quality may be reconcilable in the long run (for example Stern, 1998). In the terms of the above perspective, the choice of environmental policy instruments in developing countries has generally, though by no means always, been couched as a matter of ‘decoupling’ development and the environment (for example Pearce, 1991, p. 51 and World Bank, 1992a, pp. 40 and 43). That is to say, the search has been...

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