Posted by: CJ | April 2, 2009

Whatever, as long as it works

This post makes me happy. It describes successful implementations of a cap-and-trade model for fishing in various places across the world. I don’t really care that they found a way to use economic and free-market ideas to make a regulatory program. I just care that it’s an example of (some) governments successfully implementing regulations for the long-term protection of environmental resources.

More broadly, fish stocks are one of those areas where I wonder what libertarians think. Carbon taxes or cap-and-trade are the more common issue for such debates. But then there are all sorts of issues with people disputing either the existence or effects of climate change. Fish stocks are much more real, and there are plenty of historical examples of fish stock collapse due to over-fishing.

(H/T: Mark Thoma)

UPDATE: Actually, the blog I linked to is pretty awesome. It’s written by an environmental economist, and includes a bunch of really good posts from the past few months. Below are the ones I I like the best, along with short summaries.

  1. The Myth of the Universal Market. Economists don’t really believe the market solves all ills. That’s an unfortunate stereotype he thinks mostly applies to business school economists, but not very much to public policy school economists.
  2. The Myth of Simple Market Solutions. Not all market interventions have to take the form of taxes or cap-and-trade. It all depends on the situation, and any policy must take the specifics into account.
  3. The Myths of Market Prices and Efficiency. The market price myth is that economists only care about market prices, discounting things that the market doesn’t care about. Rather, economists do try to take everything into account, it’s just confusing because they put a dollar label on everything so they can be compared. The efficiency myth is that economists only care about efficiency and not distribution. Prof. Stavins claims this is untrue.
  4. As Reservoirs Fall, Prices Should Rise. Droughts, such as in California, should case repricing of water rather than rationing. Gives examples, specific policy ideas, and mentions Western states have been more innovative due to greater scarcity.
  5. Misconceptions About Water Pricing. Discusses misconceptions about using price as a method for water management.
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