Should the government provide more of a costly public good?
Bengt Kriström and Per-Olov Johansson develop cost-benefit rules to help assess the social profitability of providing more of a public good. While governments generally provide public goods such as parks, police and fire services, and environmental protection, they are not free. This paper examines how to assess the costs of raising additional funds to finance public goods, such as increases in income, lump sum or ad valorem taxes. The article develops a simpler CBA rule to assess the welfare impacts of raising wage taxes which is less data intensive and involved than existing rules. The results will help policy makers invest scarce public resources efficiently by identifying public good projects that are the most productive for society. The article appears in the second issue of Environmental Economics 2010.Read the article
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Wind energy produces CO2-free energy, but is it free of other externalities?
In a recently published article in the Journal of Restoration Ecology Scott Cole suggests that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for wind power development include consideration of environmental compensation measures aimed at enhancing, restoring, improving, or otherwise benefiting affected bird populations. Scott argues that compensation is "not for the birds" but for society in the sense that the success of environmental compensation is judged by whether it improves social welfare.
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