Recent Advances in Environmental Economics

Robert W. Kling (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



Kling, R.W. (2004), "Recent Advances in Environmental Economics", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 810-811.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Be assured, the contents of this volume are more creative and informative than its title! Of course, such a generalized label is required by the considerably broad scope of this collection of papers, even if the title does fail to signal any specific themes that help tie the collection together. Yet this volume does offer more than the usual miscellany of topics that one would normally find in, say, an issue of an environmental economics journal. There are indeed some interesting threads that run through these 16 papers from a workshop held in Orlando, Florida in 2000, and together they offer a stimulating array of work from leading scholars in environmental economics.

The collection has a little bit of something for everyone, yet shows a nicely coherent wholeness. Methodologically, the studies reported here include theoretical mathematical models, econometric analyses, experimental work, and informal discussion. Topically, the papers cover optimal jurisdictional policies and transboundary pollution; macro environmental issues related to trade and development; questions of various incentives facing households and polluters; and issues of benefits estimation. Despite the amalgam of typical topics, in this volume the grouping and sequencing of the papers lends a particular readability to the collection, especially for anyone who feels inclined to read it through instead of picking and choosing.

After a thought‐provoking lead‐off paper by Wallace Oates that assesses the relative merits of environmental federalism under various externality scenarios, one finds a natural sequence of papers on global environmental governance and transfrontier pollution management. These and the subsequent pieces on the trade connection and on the environmental Kuznets curve make the first half of the book particularly relevant to those taking a global‐economy view of the environment. Several of the remaining papers involve important valuation issues, explored in the context of hedonic, stated preference, and experimental studies. In addition, the mix includes a handful of papers about alternative regulatory regimes and the like.

There are very good reasons to include this volume in a personal or institutional library. Many of the papers (Arik Levinson's piece on the environmental Kuznets curve is an example that comes to mind) offer a more‐generous‐than‐average review of the conceptual background. That means the volume has special value as a reference resource, more so than a typical journal issue, for instance. That element also enriches the collection's pedagogical utility, especially in conjunction with the fact that the scope of the 16 papers is broad enough that the book could serve as a rich set of readings for a graduate course. Finally, the volume is very well edited, with a particularly effective introduction that offers a useful guide to the contents.

The contributions in this collection make for stimulating reading, and they more than justify the book's title.

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