Do Public and Private Interests in Pollution Control Always Conflict?

Ann Fisher
Robert L. Greene

DOI: 10.2190/T73T-MCXL-EN7M-5CXA


Traditional economic theory finds the pollution control interests of environmentalists and regulators to be in conflict with the profit-motivated decisions by businessmen. However, the usual assumptions about the relative shapes and positions of the marginal social benefit curve and marginal social cost curve for a cleaner environment may not always be realistic. This article examines the conditions under which the interests of environmentalists and regulators would coincide, rather than conflict, with those of businessmen. In these cases, reducing pollution control from suboptimal levels improves both public welfare and private profit.

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