Law, Economics and the Environment

Aug 02, 2004


James L. Huffman
Dean and Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law
Lewis & Clark Law School    

What's the best way to protect the environment?  Few questions on Capitol Hill elicit more spirited and disparate responses.  Politics aside, the economic issues of scarcity and resource allocation are at the core of the debate.  While there are a myriad of approaches to environmental protection, each "solution" has particular advantages and disadvantages.  Affected parties will regularly shape statistics to support their interests.  For policymakers handling environmental issues, it's often difficult to separate rhetoric from substance.

In this presentation, Dean James Huffman will present an economic assessment of environmental law and regulation, with an emphasis on market-based environmentalism and subsidiarity.  Using specific examples, Dean Huffman will delineate between centralized and decentralized enforcement regimes, and discuss the relevance of property and contract to such regimes.  Participants will leave with a fuller understanding of the legal and economic underpinnings of market-based environmentalism, as well as a wider perspective with which to assess proposed legislation.