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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 5 No. 3 (Summer 1991)


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The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks

Article Citation

Menell, Peter S. 1991. "The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(3): 93-113.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.3.93


This article assesses the major systems of environmental liability in the United States—the toxic tort system and Superfund. The discussion of each of these areas first lays out the scientific background of the environmental problems and the applicable regulatory regime. It then analyzes the efficacy of these regimes for addressing environmental problems and suggests alternative institutional designs for better promoting the goals of equitable and cost-effective compensation of disease victims and efficient deterrence and remediation of environmental degradation.

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Menell, Peter S. (U CA, Berkeley)

JEL Classifications

K13: Tort Law and Product Liability
Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy


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