Understanding Environmental Policy under Reagan


Environmental Policy Under Reagan's Executive Order: The Role of Benefit-Cost Analysis, V Kerry Smith, (North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984), 259pp.

TOPICS:

Administrative procedures; approaches to environmental policy-making; of general applicability to environmental problems; written for the first party participant.

ABSTRACT:

Environmental Policy Under Reagan's Executive Order: The Role of Benefit-Cost Analysis is an examination of the history, implementation and the regulatory impact of Executive Order 12291.

Environmental Policy Under Reagan's Executive Order: The Role of Benefit-Cost Analysis is required reading for ARSC 5010/7010 as taught by Dr. Guy Burgess and Professor Charles Lester. This work will be of interest to those who wish an understanding of policy-making under Executive Order 12291. This work is divided into four parts, each comprised of essays by different authors. Subsequent to an introduction by the editor, Part I consists of three authors' examination of the background for and the implementation of Executive Order 12291. A history of the relationship between economics and the environment is offered. The relative merits of benefit-cost analysis for environmental regulation is discussed. An overview and evaluation of EPA's guidelines for conducting regulatory impact analysis concludes the first section.

Part II focuses on experience with regulatory impact analysis under Reagan's executive order. The sole essay in this section, by multiple authors, is an examination of the ambiguities of cost-benefit analysis and offers an evaluation of regulatory impact analysis under Reagan's executive order. Part III addresses the conceptual problems in meeting the benefit-cost mandate of the executive order. Myrick Freeman III offers the first essay, the topic of which is the tactics of benefit estimation under the executive order. The other essay in this section examines economic criteria and net social risk in the analysis of environmental regulation. The final part poses the question: "Will Executive Order 12291 improve environmental policy- making?". Toward an answer to this question two essays are presented. An examination of the political economy of clean air and the constraints on White House review is first. The final essay addresses the benefits and costs of regulatory analysis.

Environmental Policy Under Reagan's Executive Order: The Role of Benefit-Cost Analysis is an examination of the economic considerations of Executive Order 12291. It does not consider any other criteria in the measurement of the effect of this order.

T. A. O'Lonergan


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