International Environmental Agreements

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 299–321 | Cite as

Economic Analysis, Environmental Policy, and Intergenerational Justice in the Reagan Administration The Case of the Montreal Protocol

  • Stephen J. DeCanio


Economic arguments played a significant role in the decision by the Reagan Administration to lead the international effort to protect the stratospheric ozone layer from depletion caused by certain otherwise useful industrial chemicals. During the period prior to the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987, it was recognized within the Administration that ethical considerations (involving the valuation of risk and intergenerational equity) were essential components of the economic analysis. Adoption of a principle of intergenerational neutrality had the consequence that any reasonable comparison of the benefits of ozone layer protection to the costs of regulatory control overwhelmingly favored regulation.

environmental ethics intergenerational equity Montreal Protocol stratospheric ozone layer 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersen, Stephen O. and K. Madhava Sarma (2002), Protecting the Ozone Layer: The United Nations History. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  2. Barro, Robert J. and Xavier Sala-i-Martin (1995), Economic Growth. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Benedick, Richard E. (1998), Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet (Enlarged Edition). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bernstein, Michael A. (2001), A Perilous Progress: Economists and Public Purpose in Twentieth-Century America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cagin, Seth and Philip Dray (1993), Between Earth and Sky: How CFCs Changed Our World and Endangered the Ozone Layer. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  6. Canan, Penelope and Nancy Reichman (2002), Ozone Connections: Expert Networks in Global Environmental Governance. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  7. Cook, Elizabeth, ed. (1996), Ozone Protection in the United States: Elements of Success. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  8. Council of Economic Advisers (1987), Economic Report of the President. Washington: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  9. Crawford, Mark (1987), 'Ozone Plan Splits Administration', Science, New Series, 23(4085) (May 29), 1052–1053.Google Scholar
  10. DeCanio, Stephen J. and Susan E. Woodward (1987), Council of Economics Advisers, 'Evaluating the Benefits and Costs of Stratospheric Ozone Protection', memorandum to Thomas G. Moore (May 15). Cited in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1988), Vol. II, Appendix G, p. G-9.Google Scholar
  11. DeCanio, Stephen J. (2000), 'The Organizational Structure of Firms and Economic Models of Climate Policy', in Stephen J. DeCanio, Richard B. Howarth, Alan H. Sanstad, Stephen H. Schneider and Starley L. Thompson, eds., New Directions in the Economics and Integrated Assessment of Global Climate Change. Washington DC: Pew Center on Global Climate Change.Google Scholar
  12. DeCanio, Stephen J. (2003), Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave/Macmillan (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  13. Grossman, Gene M. and Alan B. Krueger (1995), 'Economic Growth and the Environment', Quarterly Journal of Economics 110(2) (May), 353–377.Google Scholar
  14. Hammitt, James K. (1997), 'Are the Costs of Proposed Environmental Regulations Overestimated? Evidence from the CFC Phaseout'. Center for Risk Analysis and Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  15. Jorgenson, Dale W. and Peter J. Wilcoxen (1990), 'Environmental Regulation and U.S. Economic Growth', The RAND Journal of Economics 21(2) (Summer), 314–340.Google Scholar
  16. Krause, Florentin, Stephen J. DeCanio, J. Andrew Hoerner and Paul Baer (2002), 'Cutting Carbon Emissions at a Profit (Part I): Opportunities for the United States', Contemporary Economic Policy 20(4) (October), 339–365.Google Scholar
  17. Krause, Florentin, Stephen J. DeCanio, J. Andrew Hoerner and Paul Baer (2003), 'Cutting Carbon Emissions at a Profit (Part II): Impacts on U.S. Competitiveness and Jobs', Contemporary Economic Policy 21(1) (January), 90–105.Google Scholar
  18. Laitner, John A. 'skip', Stephen J. DeCanio and Irene Peters (2001), 'Incorporating Behavioral, Social, and Organizational Phenomena in the Assessment of Climate Change Mitigation Options', in Society, Behaviour, and Climate Change Mitigation, Eberhard Jochem, Jayant Sathaye and Daniel Bouille, eds., Advances in Global Change Research, Vol. 8. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  19. Mooz, W. E., S. H. Dole, D. L. Jaquette, W. H. Krase, P. F. Morrison, S. L. Salem, R. G. Salter and K. A. Wolf (1982), 'Technical Options for Reducing Chlorofluorocarbon Emissions', prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Santa Monica: The RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  20. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2002), Traffic Safety Facts 2000. National Center for Statistics & Analysis, Washington DC. tsf2000/2000ovrfacts.pdf.Google Scholar
  21. Palmer, Adele R., William E. Mooz, Timothy H. Quinn and Kathleen A. Wolf (1980), 'Economic Implications of Regulating Chlorofluorocarbon Emissions from Nonaerosol Applications', prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Santa Monica: The RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  22. Palmer, Karen, Wallace E. Oates and Paul R. Portney (1995), 'Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?' Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(4) (Fall), 119–132.Google Scholar
  23. Phelps, Edmund S. (1966), Golden Rules of Economic Growth: Studies of Efficient and Optimal Investment. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Population Reference Bureau (2002), World Population Data Sheet: Demographic Data and Estimates for the Countries and Regions of the World. Scholar
  25. Porter, Michael E. (1991), 'America's Green Strategy: Environmental Standards and Competitiveness', Scientific American 264(4) (April), 168.Google Scholar
  26. Porter, Michael E. and Claas van der Linde (1995a), 'Toward a New Conception of the Environment-Competitiveness Relationship', Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(4) (Fall), 97–118.Google Scholar
  27. Porter, Michael E. and Claas van der Linde (1995b), 'Green and Competitive: Breaking the Stalemate', Harvard Business Review 73(5) (September–October), 120–134.Google Scholar
  28. Rawls, John (1971), A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Repetto, Robert and Duncan Austin (1997), The Costs of Climate Protection: A Guide for the Perplexed. Washington: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  30. Saari, Donald G. (1995), 'Mathematical Complexity of Simple Economics', Notices of AMS 42 (February), 222–230. Scholar
  31. Sanstad, Alan H., Stephen J. DeCanio, Gale A. Boyd and Jonathan G. Koomey (2001), 'Estimating Bounds on the Economy-Wide Effects of the CEF Policy Scenarios', Energy Policy 29(14), 1299–1311.Google Scholar
  32. Sen, Amartya K. (1979), 'The Welfare Basis of Real Income Comparisons: A Survey', Journal of Economic Literature 17(1), 1–45.Google Scholar
  33. Solow, Robert M. (1970), Growth Theory: An Exposition. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (1991), Report of the Economic Options Committee, Montreal Protocol 1991 Assessment. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.Google Scholar
  35. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (1994), Report of the Economic Options Committee, Montreal Protocol 1994 Assessment. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.Google Scholar
  36. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1987), 'Protection of Stratospheric Ozone', Federal Register 52(239) (December 14), 47489–47515.Google Scholar
  37. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1988), Regulatory Impact Analysis: Protection of Stratospheric Ozone. Prepared by Stratospheric Protection Program, Office of Program Development, Office of Air and Radiation. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  38. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2000), Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses. National Center for Environmental Economics. Scholar
  39. Viscusi, W. Kip (1993), 'The Value of Risks to Life and Health', Journal of Economic Literature 31(4) (December), 1912–1946.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. DeCanio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics, University of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA (E-mail

Personalised recommendations