Most economists prefer a tax to regulation, and for those seeking to decarbonize the US economy a Pigouvian carbon tax is an attractive policy prescription. A non-romantic view of a carbon tax is consistent with Pigou’s largely forgotten warning that such a tax is “a potential opportunity” for self interest to trump the general interest. Congress may pass a carbon tax but it will have less to do with carbon reduction and more to do with redistributing income, exempting favorite companies, and making promises that future congresses will not keep.
Date Published: 1/16/2013
Competing claims about the economic value of public lands to local communities abound. Officials from the outdoor recreation industry, for example, claim that protecting lands from multiple uses such as motorized and even pedal-powered recreation and oil, gas, and mineral extraction is "really truly about jobs"(Prettyman 2012). A hunting and fishing group, Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development, commissioned a study that examined the relationship between economic security and public land management strategies. The study's authors concluded that in rural counties in the Rocky Mountain West "as the proportion of conservation/recreation lands declines, so do indicators of economic health and growth" (Southwick 2012, 19). By contrast, we find that wilderness and public lands, in general, negatively impacts local economic conditions.
Date Published: 12/31/2012