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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the benefits and costs of environmental protection
  • Explain the effects of ecotourism
  • Apply marginal analysis to illustrate the marginal costs and marginal benefits of reducing pollution

Government economists have estimated that U.S. firms may pay more than $200 billion per year to comply with federal environmental laws. That is big bucks. Is the money well spent?

Benefits and costs of clean air and clean water

The benefits of a cleaner environment can be divided into four areas: (1) people may stay healthier and live longer; (2) certain industries that rely on clean air and water, such as farming, fishing, and tourism, may benefit; (3) property values may be higher; and (4) people may simply enjoy a cleaner environment in a way that does not need to involve a market transaction. Some of these benefits, such as gains to tourism or farming, are relatively easy to value in economic terms. It is harder to assign a monetary value to others, such as the value of clean air for someone with asthma. It seems impossible to put a clear-cut monetary value on still others, such as the satisfaction you might feel from knowing that the air is clear over the Grand Canyon, even if you have never visited the Grand Canyon.

Although estimates of environmental benefits are not precise, they can still be revealing. For example, a study by the Environmental Protection Agency looked at the costs and benefits of the Clean Air Act from 1970 to 1990. It found that total costs over that time period were roughly $500 billion—a huge amount. However, it also found that a middle-range estimate of the health and other benefits from cleaner air was $22 trillion—about 44 times higher than the costs. A more recent study by the EPA estimated that the environmental benefits to Americans from the Clean Air Act will exceed their costs by a margin of four to one. The EPA estimated that “in 2010 the benefits of Clean Air Act programs will total about $110 billion. This estimate represents the value of avoiding increases in illness and premature death which would have prevailed.” Saying that overall benefits of environmental regulation have exceeded costs in the past, however, is very different from saying that every environmental regulation makes sense. For example, studies suggest that when breaking down emission reductions by type of contaminants, the benefits of air pollution control outweigh the costs primarily for particulates and lead, but when looking at other air pollutants, the costs of reducing them may be comparable to or greater than the benefits. Just because some environmental regulations have had benefits much higher than costs does not prove that every individual regulation is a sensible idea.

Ecotourism: making environmentalism pay

The definition of ecotourism is a little vague. Does it mean sleeping on the ground, eating roots, and getting close to wild animals? Does it mean flying in a helicopter to shoot anesthetic darts at African wildlife? Or a little of both? The definition may be fuzzy, but tourists who hope to appreciate the ecology of their destination—“eco tourists”—are the impetus to a big and growing business. The International Ecotourism Society estimates that international tourists interested in seeing nature or wildlife will take 1.56 billion trips by 2020.

Questions & Answers

Leo Robinson's definition
Adejimi Reply
how is equilibrium defined in financial markets?
Babakura Reply
the concept of it
DALOM
Country A has export sales 20 billion, government purchases 1000billion, business investment is 50 billion, imports are 40billion, and consumption spending is 2000billin. What is the dollar value of GDP ?
Habtamu Reply
what is determination of national income?
Waqar Reply
economic growth
Rukaiya
stock of capital
Rukaiya
we're RBI keep money with them
Anil
Y =C+l
Favour
evaluate the success affirmative action as one of south Africa's redress method
Tebatso Reply
what is market equilibrium
explorer Reply
it is a situation in which the supply of an item is exactly equal to it dd .
Ssmith
inder wat condition shld a firm stop production in both short n lungrun ?
Ssmith
what is 2nd degree price discrimination?
Ssmith
what is quantity
Tettey
what is quantity2
Deji Reply
An indefinite amount of something.
explorer
what is demand
Kaman Reply
in ordinary sense demand means desire
Khalid
demand in economics means both willingness as well as the ability to purchase a commodity by paying a price an also its actuall purchase
Khalid
what is absolute advantage
Khalid
demand refers to the various quantity of goods and services that consumers are willing and able to purchase at a particular period of time all other things been equal
Dela
The amount of a good or service that consumers are willing to buy at a particular price.
explorer
what is cost pull inflation?
oru
what is utility
oru
what is cost pull inflation?
oru
demand is economic principle referring to a consumer's desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific or service..
Babakura
utility is the among of certisfaction driving from using a comundity
Anas
pull cost of inflation hight population unemployment to some of The country members poor government system
Anas
what is a buffer scheme
Lukong
state the second law of demand and supply
Ahmadou Reply
state the law of diminishing marginal utility
Ahmadou
dt know WATS the answer
Rukundo
mention and explain two Bank I financial institutions and two non baking financial institutions
Onah Reply
wat is demand pull inflation
Tony Reply
Demand-pull inflation is asserted to arise when aggregate demandin an economy outpaces aggregate supply. It involvesinflation rising as real gross domestic product rises and unemployment falls, as the economy moves along the Phillips curve.
kevin
Perfectly elastic demand
Abubakar Reply
this is a form of demand where goods are demanded at a constant price
Rukundo
what inelastic demanding
Koire
demand of any good demanded more after a certain period. if a commodity prices may high and scarcity of that resources.
Anil
cannot demand more
Anil
what is cross-elasticity of demand
Miles Reply
cross elasticity of demand is an economic concept that measures the responsiveness in the quantity demand of one good when a change in price takes place in other good
Mallekha
this is responsiveness quantity demanded keeping other factors constant
Rukundo
what economic growth
Rukundo Reply
conditions of perfect market
NdzAlama Reply
CONDITIONS OF PERFECT MARKET: 1. Perfect competition(PC): no increasing returns, many buyers and sellers, all are price takers, not prices makers. 2. Perfect Information (PI): buyers and sellers know all they need to know about what they are buying and selling to make the right decisions.
Mallekha
3. Complete Markets(CM): no externalities or public goods, no transactions costs, "thick" markets.
Mallekha
nice contributor
Mohammed
A numerous downsized market that does not meet standards.
LaTasha
A Perfect Market is a numerous downsized market that does not meet standards.
LaTasha
what is a market
Ahmadou
is place where buyers and sellers met together for the purpose of buying and selling of good and services
Babakura

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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