This paper provides a review and assessment of the extensive literature on the political determination of environmental regulation. A promising theoretical literature has emerged relatively recently that provides models of the political interaction of government with various interest groups in the setting of environmental standards and the choice of regulatory instruments. A large empirical literature supports such models, finding evidence of the influence of interest groups but also evidence that net social benefits are often an important determinant of environmental policy choices. We then take up the issue of environmental federalism and the large and growing theoretical literature that addresses the competitive “race to the bottom.” The paper concludes with a brief look at the evolution of environmental policy and finds that economics has come to play a growing role both in the setting of standards for environmental quality and in the design of regulatory measures.
On the Issues — Sep 22, 2023
On the Issues: Equitable Climate Policy, Value of a Statistical Life, and More
A biweekly newsletter connecting global current events, pressing climate and energy policy news, and economics research from RFF scholars. This week: equitable climate policy, value of a statistical life, and more.
Resources Radio — Sep 19, 2023
Climate Policy and Environmental Justice in New York, with Victoria Sanders and Molly Robertson
Victoria Sanders and Molly Robertson discuss the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in New York State, options for implementing the law, and the different benefits that these options could provide among different communities.
Resources Radio — Aug 15, 2023
Using Artificial Intelligence to Tackle Climate Change, with Priya Donti
Priya Donti discusses the promises and challenges of using artificial intelligence in climate policymaking and the energy transition.