Economists have tried to incorporate the environment into the economic calculus by incorporating shadow values of environmental improvements into benefit-cost analysis and by designing policies to price pollution. Environmental economists tend to present these practices as settled, but in fact deep-buried tensions lie underneath the apparently settled ground. When they choose one method to measure prices over another, environmental economists implicitly align themselves with one side or another of a debate between the role of utilitarianism and consumer sovereignty that has been raging for over a century.

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