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An Economic Approach to the Problem of Toxic Waste : A Theoretical and Case Study Evaluation of Alternative Regulatory Instruments


This project investigates the best policies for the control of toxic waste pollution and assesses which economic instruments provide direct incentives to change production technology and the characteristics of toxic waste.

The project is made up of three phases:

i) a dynamic framework, is used to investigate the impact of different policies and in particular (1) to simulate the interaction of different economic instruments; (2) to provide direct incentives to change production technology and the characteristics of toxic waste;

ii) a simulation using this theoretical framework is made. The outputs from this simulation include the time paths of emissions, their accumulation and the stock of the contaminated resource remaining. In addition, a comparative institutional analysis of ground-water pollution is undertaken. The various instruments considered include: enforced permits (regulations), taxes on emissions and various inputs and outputs, civil and criminal liability and direct standards;

iii) the theoretical and institutional parts of the project are combined to form joint recommendations on policy approaches to the problem of toxic waste. The policy analysis section of the project analyzes the cost-efficiency of the various instruments available in effecting a given standard of environmental quality, including the costliness of relaxing or enhancing that standard.

The intention is to provide a quantified indication of the effects of different policies on toxic contaminants in ground water and other media and develop a scheme of regulation that most cost-effectively regulates the problem.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
CB3 9DE Cambridge
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Bouillonstraat 3
6200 MD Maastricht