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Flashcards in SOC 105 FINAL Deck (10):
1

basic understanding of the advantages/disadvantages of a regulatory policy approach

The government sets specific binding standards and enforces compliance
by law.
Advantage:
- Clear benchmarks create level playing field for private sector
- Compliance costs can be calculated
- Regulation often creates side-benefits
Disadvantages:
- Inflexible: incentive structure is to avoid compliance
- No incentive to go beyond standards
- No effect on demand for polluting activity
- Expensive to monitor and enforce
- Special interest bargaining leads to second-best solutions

2

basic understanding of the advantages/disadvantages of a market-based policy approach

Basic idea: integrate environmental costs into the price of goods and services
and than let market forces play. This requires the use of taxes, fees and similar
instruments.
Advantage:
- Flexible, does not require regulatory framework
- Allows firms to use most cost-effective approaches to reduce exposure to tax
- Can be phased in slowly, shadow of the future creates market signals.
- Can directly target demand for polluting activity.
- Can generate revenues that can be used for offsetting other taxes
(eco-tax reform, revenue neutrality) or
- provide resources for subsidizing environmental technology and conservation.
Disadvantages:
- Political acceptability low in the U.S. (no interest-group politics)
- Regressive: without countervailing measures, lower income groups may pay
higher share
- Consumers may have no alternatives but to pay higher price.
- Response to price signal may only set in at prohibitively high price levels
(price elasticity)

3

value judgements that go into risk assessment and management

Risk assessment in practice requires many judgment calls
Three key problems:
- what substances to assess (toxic waste rather than newly released
substances)
- what effects to assess (focus on cancer and less on other health effects)
- what are acceptable risks (how much should risks be reduced at what costs)
What a society sees as an “acceptable risk” is a social construction.

4

cost-benefit analysis (why does it bias against regulation?)

Value costs and benefits of using natural resources or the environment in
different ways.
Compare short-term benefits/costs with long-term benefits/costs.
President Ronald Reagan in 1981 issues an Executive Order to subject all
government regulations to cost-benefit analysis (except military
expenditures)

5

Environmental issues present particular public policy challenges. (a) Identify two, three key reasons why this is the case, with reference to some of the concepts and theoretical propositions discussed in the early weeks of the class.

-visabiltiy: since peple don't see the problems occuring they do not believe it is happening.
-uncertainty:difficult to establish the different cause and effect relationships between pollution, environmental degradation, and human health impacts.
-Shifting benchmarks: we get used to the situations and just assume it is normal.

6

What are the implications of your brief discussion for the likelihood that people will voluntarily “behave more environmentally conscious?” and for designing (and framing) workable public policy initiatives?

Political framework conditions of the 60s and early 70s 2) Advances in science and technology allowed tracing ever smaller amounts of toxic chemicals in the environment and researching impact of pollution on living organisms. 3) Television changed people’s perception of the world and made environmental pollution visible to everyone.

7

How does the Endangered Species Act (ESA) work. (a) What is its key objective?

The Endangered Species Act is used as a tool to restrict private land use in order to protect endangered species. It also protects animals by not allowing them to be taken out of their original habitat and mandates the development of recovery plans in areas where habitats are critical.

8

Explain the precautionary approach to environmental policy making (as now used by the European Union countries) and how it differs from the current US approach to environmental policy (see a and b). What are the practical implications of this difference? Give one example of where you see this having led to different policy decisions.

Europeans have perceived more health,safety, and environmental risks caused by businesses to be credible and politically unacceptable unlike the US.
-Different cultural values. Europeans show their concern about the environment by being voters, consumers , and policy makers while Americans are more concerned about their lifestyle than the environment

9

WHat policy apporach should we use? regulatory or monetrary

Use both advantages to build off.
Use basic command-and-control regulation for most immediate environmental threats. Increase use of economic instruments for moving towards minimizing resource use and waste generation.

10

constructivist approach

based on our perception of enviromental and social problems and solutions due to clusters of beliefs, values and ideals that ifnleunce our view on the world.