Policy Choices For Air Quality Goal Attainment

Allen K. Miedema

DOI: 10.2190/EVYF-H3JC-0E6X-2XFT


The four major air quality attainment policies—emission control regulations, emission control subsidies, emission charges, and emission rights—are respecifications of air resource property rights. Among these, regulations and subsidies are allocatively and dynamically inefficient. The choice between emission charges and emission rights depends on an empirical assessment of their associated transactions costs, although emission rights appear more promising. The proper evaluation of emission control policies requires better techniques for estimating transactions costs and for assessing the deleterious effects of various specific pollutants. Ultimately, environmental policymakers have to confront the choices of air quality goals, of the final distribution of pollution abatement costs, and of regional variations in air quality as normative political issues, despite substantial inputs of scientific information concerning these issues.

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