Posts Tagged ‘economics’

Costs of Environmental Regulation Worth the Reward?

July 14th, 2014 No comments

By: Joe Winning

Blog Category: Economics of Environmental Regulation

There’s a feeling among many Americans that the benefits of environmental regulation in this country are not worth the cost. These opinions reflect the prevailing view that broad environmental regulations impose substantial costs, such as (1) excessively high prices, (2) greater unemployment, (3) more poverty, and (4) increased difficulty for American companies & workers attempting to compete in increasingly international market. While this blogger tends to agree with this perspective and would argue incentives are a better approach, Dr. Frank S. Arnold offers a compelling alternative argument that the costs of regulation are indeed worth the reward.

Although written in 1999, Dr. Arnold’s research remains compelling, if for no other reason than providing calculable benchmarks to evaluate the value of this countries’ spending in the area of environmental regulation. In support of his argument, Arnold draws three major conclusions. First, national spending for environmental regulation is considerably less than the countries’ spending in areas such as health care and national defense. Next, regarding the nation’s “bang for its buck,” Dr. Arnold draws comparisons to other countries and their cost of regulation, concluding that the United States has attained a similar outcome for the amount spent. Finally, while critics insist the countries’ environmental regulation spending is destroying the nation’s job market, Dr. Arnold contends this is not the case. Arnold demonstrates the flaw in this argument by pointing to the lack of plant closures and job loss directly related to employer costs of environmental regulation. He also highlights the fact that there has not been a surge of companies fleeing the United States to go to countries with lower costs tied to environmental regulation. Although this article is somewhat dated and this blogger contends the best approach is economic incentives compared to regulations, the benchmarks outlined by Dr. Arnold remain compelling in evaluating the costs of environmental regulation in this country.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


Frank S. Arnold, Environmental RegulationIs It Bad for the Economy?, Environmental Law Institute (July 9, 1999), available at

Approaching Domestic Violence From the Ground Up: From Children to Adults

June 30th, 2014 No comments

By: Jay Patel

Blog Category: Domestic Violence Issues and the Law, Economics, & Race

Domestic Violence reaches across every fabric of society.[1] It does not recognize racial, geographic, and socioeconomic or gender lines.[2] Instead it visits destruction upon those affected and imposes a significant health and economic cost on society.[3] Numerous approaches have been proposed, enacted and visited to reduce the number of incidents and provide prophylactic relief. Despite these measures, domestic violence remains an unfortunate reality in society.[4]

At this time, renewed focus should be directed to educating children on the concept of domestic violence, its scope, impact and their potential risk to become victims or  abusers in the future. A class devoted to human relationships and the associated benefits and potential detriments should be created. Discussions oriented around the signs and reactions of victims and abusers should be detailed.  By providing this component when they are young, it should have the ability of impressing upon them the serious nature of the act and provide a basis for them to seek assistance in the future.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  

[1] United States Department of Justice, Domestic Violence, United States Government (Apr. 1, 2014 10:05 A.M.), available at
[2] Id.
[3] See Robert Pearl, M.D., Domestic Violence: The Secret Killer That Costs $8.3 Billion Annually, Forbes Magazine (Apr. 1, 2014 10:12 P.M), available at (noting “[a]bused women are 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 80 percent more likely to experience a stroke and 60 percent more likely to develop asthma.” and calculating lost productivity costs at 2.5 billion dollars.); see also Domestic Violence Facts, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (Apr. 1, 2014 10:09 A.M.), available at (noting a 2003 and 2007 Centers for Disease Control Report which estimated the annual medical cost of domestic violence at 5.8 billion dollars and the cost of injuries and death at 37 billion dollars each year).
[4] Shannan M. Catalano, Ph.D., Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2010, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Apr. 1, 2014 10:21 A.M.), available at
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Lack of Environmental Regulation Might Ruin Your Vacation : Examples of the Benefits of Regulation & Consequences without it

June 16th, 2014 No comments

By: Chris Pine

Blog Category: Economics of Environmental Regulation

Right leaning politics and business interests have long been unified by the mantra that regulation is bad for the economy.  Environmental regulation is no exception.  Republicans often characterize such regulation as an obstruction to job creation.[1]  For example, the electric utility industry projected over $7 billion in costs and tens of thousands in lost jobs as a consequence of Clean Air Act amendments regulating emissions.[2]  On the other hand, many facts and perspectives chip away at this sometimes hyperbolic characterization. One perspective regarding regulation looks at the economic benefits of regulation.

For instance, in regards to the Clean Air Act amendments mentioned above, an economist for Resources for the Future found costs to be closer to $1 billion.[3] In looking at effects, an MIT economist highlighted the reduction in infant mortality due to the clean air regulations.[4]  The economist cited gains in length of life, reduction in hospitalizations, and further health benefits that more than overcome the short-term costs of environmental regulation.[5]  A study by the Office of Management and Budget found that in general, the economic benefits of EPA regulations outweigh the short-term expenses.[6]  Like the benefits from clean air regulations, EPA regulations as a whole affect a range of health benefits across the populace.[7]  In another example, regulations on carbon emissions save on the destruction of food supplies that would result if such emissions were left unregulated.[8]

Alternatively, another perspective regarding environmental regulation looks to the economic consequences of poor environmental practices. revolves around incidents that occur for lack of regulation.  As summer creeps closer, many of us look forward to trips down the Jersey Shore. However, beaches lined with medical waste resulting from a lack of disposal regulation is not the picture we all have in mind.  The summer of 1988 saw hundreds of days on the beach lost when medical waste, including hypodermic needles, washed up on the Jersey Shore.[9]  Not only were vacations ruined, but the seasonally dependent economies of shore towns lost an estimate $1 billion that year.  Unfortunately, this medical flotsam is not just a distant memory.  In 2008, for example, Avalon, New Jersey temporarily closed several of its beaches after roughly 200 syringes washed ashore.[10]  Just last summer, beached needles caused New Jersey officials to reintroduce environmental protection legislation.[11]

The impact of environmental regulation on business is a valid concern.  But stopping there, without considering the potential economic gains from regulation, or consequences if we shirk responsibility, leaves us in continual economic jeopardy.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 

[1] Mikoto Rich and John Broder, A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment, N.Y. Times (Sept. 4, 2011), available at

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Jeff Spross, New Study: The Economic Benefits of EPA Regulations Massively Outweigh the Costs, ThinkProgress (May 3, 2013), available at

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Christopher Robbins, N.J. Congressman Introduces medical waste regulation after needles found on beach, (August 15, 2013), available at

[10] Chris Newmaker, N.J. towns close beaches after medical waste washes ashore, USA Today (August 9, 2008), available at

[11] Robbins, supra, note 9.

Volume V, Issue 2 Published!

June 2nd, 2014 No comments

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race is proud to announce that Volume V, Issue II is now available! Click the link, read, and enjoy!


Government Land Grab

May 19th, 2014 No comments

By: Jason Gibson

Blog Category: The Economics of Environmental Regulation

The Clean Water Act (CWA) was enacted in 1972 to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources, providing assistance to publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands.”  The law is designed to protect waters with a “significant nexus” to “navigable waters.”  However, the scope of the statute has remained unclear since its inception and often defines navigable waters as “waters of the United States.”

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a rule that would expand the authority of the CWA to include over a million acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams.  The EPA justifies this expansion by arguing that many of these areas are where people get drinking water and also where they hunt, despite the fact that some of these are dry for parts of the year.  This new proposal is meeting intense opposition from those claiming that the new rule will damage the economy by placing unnecessary burdens on farmers and developers who will need to obtain federal permits to conduct their routine activities.  Several governors in the western United States, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, are also worried about the impact this new rule would have on drought management, an often serious and costly issue in states such as California.

Sen. Pat Toomey and other politicians have called on the EPA to withdraw this proposal or expand the public review period to six months.  Currently, the rule is only opened for public review for 90 days; despite the fact that the government’s own peer reviewed scientific assessment will not be completed until the end of the year.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


Hope Yen, Clean Water Act Expansion Draws Ire from GOP as White House Prepares to Regulate Waterways, The Huffington Post (Apr. 4, 2014, 8:50 AM), available at

Juliet Eilperin & Darryl Fears, EPA Proposes Greater Protections for Streams, Wetlands Under Clean Water Act, The Washington Post (Mar. 25, 2014), available at


Spring/Summer 2014 Blog Topics

April 20th, 2014 No comments

new shield

 The Widener Journal of Law, Economics and Race would like to announce the topics of our Spring/Summer 2014 blogs!


Our blogs will feature the following four topics:

      1)  Domestic Violence Issues and the Law, Economics, & Race

2)  International Law & Race

3)  The Economics of Environmental Regulation

4)  Religion & Race 


New blog entries will be added every Monday. Thank you for supporting the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race!