Environmental protection and resource conservation depend on the imposition of property rights (broadly defined) because in the absence of some property system - private, common, or public - resource degradation and depletion are inevitable. But there is no universal, first-best property regime for environmental protection in this second-best world. Using case studies and examples taken from countries around the world, Professor Cole demonstrates that the choice of ownership institution is contingent upon institutional, technological, and ecological circumstances that determine the differential costs of instituting, implementing, and maintaining alternative regimes. Consequently, environmental protection is likely to be more effective and more efficient in a society that relies on multiple (and often mixed) property regimes. The book concludes with an assessment of the important contemporary issue of 'takings', which arise when different property regimes collide.
'At last we have, in Dan Cole's careful and comprehensive work, an intellectually honest account of the role of property relations in pollution policy. Finally, clear thought stands a plausible chance of trumping ideology masquerading as analysis by lawyers and economists.' Daniel W. Bromley, University of Wisconsin-Madison '! a first-rate analysis of environmental management from the several viewpoints of law, economics, measurement technology, and political will.' J. H. Dales, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto 'Daniel Cole's book is a sophisticated critique of private property and market-based approaches to environmental regulation ! This clearly argued and informative study makes a major contribution to our understanding of the factors that affect the viability of different regulatory and property-rights approaches to environmental protection ! This is ! an important book.' Perspectives on Politics
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