For this step in the Policy Brief preparation process you will decide to take either a “pro- regulation” (safety or sustainability standard) or “anti-regulation” (efficiency standard) stance on the environmental issue you have chosen to discuss and compile information on a few of the benefits and costs associated with the issue. If you choose the “anti-regulation” approach, this does not mean that the last component of your brief, the Policy Recommendations section will not include a recommendation. Remember that one can end of with a variety of policy recommendations depending on whether you are taking an efficiency, safety, or sustainability standard approach. Additionally, if you are taking the anti-regulation approach, you may promote a government subsidy rather than direct regulation. Lastly, if your issue requires multilateral coordination (cooperation among states, nations, cities, etc.) you may not recommend a policy due to the public good challenges related to addressing the issue.
- First you should coordinate with your partner as to who will take the pro-regulation approach and who will take the anti-regulation approach.
- Once you have decided, each of you will need to do some research to identify the economic (both market and nonmarket) benefits associated with the issue you are investigating. This could include a discussion of the benefits associated with the production of whatever good, industry, technology, capital investment, etc. that contributes to the issue as well as the benefits of cleanup or reduction of the externality (e.g., a cleaner ocean, long-term profits for the fishing industry, etc.). You will also have to identify the social costs associated with the externality that you are analyzing as well as the potential costs of regulation.
- Ideally, you would each reference 2-3 peer reviewed journal articles, and 2-3 report-type documents in this section of the paper, and cite appropriately. Newspaper articles are also acceptable, but please be selective about the news sources that you use. Often, a newspaper article covering an issue will reference the report from which it is gathering its information. In these cases, it would be best to track down the original report.
- Use the sources you find to identify a minimum of two benefits and two costs associated with the existence and regulation of the externality. Ideally, the discussion of benefits and costs would include some form of numbers reporting/summarizing from the sources you gather. For instance, reporting on the amount of money that an industry produces for an economy, or the number of individuals it employs. Or, for example, with desalination, how much water can be produced, and how will this benefit the community that is considering building a desalination plant?
There are a lot of different angles that can be used to think about the benefits and costs of an issue. It may be worthwhile to brainstorm a list of these potential items prior to beginning your search. This will give you key words and topics to look for as you seek to identify your source documents.
I do not want you to collect data or compile large datasets for your own analysis. Ideally, the resources you gather would have already conducted some type of analysis, from which you can reference and summarize the findings.
- Keep in mind, as you review the literature and consider the benefits and costs, that you are either taking a pro- or anti-regulation approach. This does not mean that you need to “cherry- pick” data or choose unreliable sources. It simply means that you ought to consider the economic approach (i.e., efficiency standard, safety standard, or sustainability standard) as you identify what benefits/costs you are interested in gathering information on and summarize your findings.
- If there are preexisting policies or regulatory frameworks that can be used or have failed to address the issue you are investigating, it would be of some value to briefly discuss them in this section, if you did not provide this information in your context/background section.
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