Who Owns the Environment?
This chapter argues that all environmental issues boil down to property rights issues. Due to scarcity, people compete for the use of resources—land, water, and air—and, in the process, create opportunity costs for those resources. Environmental justice is no different. The discussion suggests that the property rights lens provides a positive framework for analyzing the distributional and efficiency implications of different property rights assignments. This chapter analyzes four property right questions in relation to environmental justice: landowner rights, renter rights, market adjustments, and resource allocation.
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