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Lecture 20

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 222
Christa Scholtz

The Regulator's Dilemma by Kathryn Harrison Description Costs vs benefits Environmental regulations The choices that governments in regulating them When one is face with how much crap is allowed to spill out in the env., how much is acceptable? To go with standard regulations or stricter ones? It's always a trade-off between env. benefits and economic benefits Understanding Gov. Preferences Political mobilization and political risks Concentrated costs/benefits vs diffuse costs/benefits Riskier to impose concentrated costs Relative strength of industry vs environmentalists Environmental mobilization can impact preferences Concentrated costs Very immediate costs and shared by a very small group of people Diffuse costs are shared among a larger group of people and have a long-term impact Governments are interest in short-term gains, because their terms are short So impacts in the next 4 years, and not 25 years down the road The political risk is greater if they sacrifice jobs to protect the environment Environmentalists tend to happen in cycles Pressing regulations in favour of the environment comes when the economy is good and job opportunities are relatively available Whither Jobs or Clean Water? 4 types of provinces (spectrum) Resistant One that will protect jobs above all else Willing to sacrifice env. standards in order to attract jobs Reluctant Independent Competitive Underlying preference is env. protection Seeks to claim env. credit and will do so even if it faces the loss of jobs Game theory e.g. Prisoner's dilemma, Chi
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