Environmental Economics for Tree Huggers and Other Skeptics

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Jaeger's proven techniques and wonderfully conversational tone assume no economics training, and his presentation of the material is designed to facilitate clarity. His step-by-step approach unearths surprisingly simple, easy-to-remember principles and shows how to apply them to real-world environmental problems.

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Those with exposure to introductory microeconomics will find "Environmental Economics for Tree Huggers and Other Skeptics" to be a welcome refresher. Undergraduate and graduate students of environmental studies, resource management, law, policy, and related fields, as well as novices who are skeptical of how the field could possibly help them in their own efforts, will be pleasantly surprised.

Read more Read less. Review "Overall, Enviro n mental Economics for Tree Huggers and Other Skeptics is a nice, compact, competent, inexpensive introduction to the field of environmental economics. No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. December 2, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. The audience best suited for Jaeger's book is the student of environmental issues who hasn't encountered economics in any formal context.

Jaeger opens the book with a pretty decent primer on introductory microeconomic theory, and uses the remainder of the book to describe how that theory does or does not apply to a selection of environmental issues. For those issues where traditional market theory doesn't apply, Jaeger does a good job of laying why and, in addition, some of the implications. There are other texts that address the same general subject area with greater sophistication and with more mathematical content, but those are ill-suited to this audience.


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For this book's audience, I'm very comfortable with the 5-star rating. April 10, - Published on Amazon.

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It's a textbook. May 3, - Published on Amazon. The reading is dense. August 26, - Published on Amazon.

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Its viewpoint hews very faithfully to the Econ textbook version of neoclassical microeconomics. The author WKJ occasionally mentions other points of view in order to seem fair, but these are reassuringly dismissed. For example, consider WKJ's discussion of the so-called "environmental Kuznets curve".

The EKC is an alleged empirical relationship between economic development and declines in pollution; its biggest fans are neoliberal economists who claim that the solution to environmental problems is more, not less, economic activity.

Environmental Economics for Tree Huggers and Other Skeptics by William K. Jaeger (2005, Paperback)

WKJ does mention that "the dust has definitely not settled on this debate [sc. The problem with the EKC is as time goes by, empirical evidence seems very much against it, especially for non-localized issues like global warming. For more nuanced evaluations of the EKC even within the framework of conventional econometrics i. The insincere appearance of fairness isn't the only rhetorical tactic used by WKJ to deal with difficult topics. Ignoring the difficulties is another, as when after a very confusing description of the construction of a staircase-shaped demand curve for cookies in a hypothetical classroom WKJ casually mentions that in the rest of the book demand curves will be continuous curves.

In fact the aggregation of demand curves is a highly controversial topic even within neoclassical economics. Even Nobel laureate Gerard Debreu, who helped to put the neoclassical point of view on a highly mathematical foundation, himself questioned its validity. Another tactic, thankfully confined to the final chapter, is a more judgmental and emotional dismissal of opposing ideas.

For example, we're told that the version of environmental economics known as ecological economics is "high-quality" as practiced in Europe, but not so in the US; US ecological economics is "either noneconomic or antieconomic" terms that are never explained Herman Daly, the leading American proponent of ecological economics, who BTW has been much honored in Europe, is a "self-described ecological economist" whose characterizations of economics are "misleading" , though we are never told how they are so, nor even about Daly's characterizations at all.

Interestingly, WKJ is conflicted on the question of neutrality; earlier, he tells us "Economic analysis is not 'value free.

What is ENVIRONMENTAL SKEPTICISM? What does ENVIRONMENTAL SKEPTICISM mean?

I think this last quote is correct; it's too bad WKJ couldn't see the implications of this statement for the rest of the book. Highly recommended. Astute environmentalists will welcome his analysis of how weak institutions and perverse incentives systematically undermine environmental quality, and what can be done about it.


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Dixon, former Lead Environmental Economist at The World Bank "Bill Jaeger, in simple language and a style that is neither threatening nor overly ingratiating, patiently explains and defends the economic perspective on environmental issues.



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