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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Market-based environmental policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Theory and reality
by Acquatella Corrales, Jean Jose, Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), 2010, 195; 3422223
Abstract (Summary)

The dissertation assesses the implementation of “market-based” environmental policy instruments in Latin America and the Caribbean. National surveys were undertaken in 13 countries to assess implementation outcomes and instrument choice, 81 instruments in 13 countries were documented in our dataset. Each record is a mini case-study of the implementation history for one “market-based” instrument (MBI). The analysis determined the extent of MBIs implementation in practice, the instrument choices made, and the outcomes obtained by environmental authorities attempting to incorporate MBIs into the regulatory mix. We find that in a third of all cases documented (25 in 81 or 32%) implementation was either not completed, or derailed, due to a variety of factors. Furthermore, among 56 cases where implementation took place, 12 instruments (21%) were found to be no longer operating or not enforced in practice; and a further 9 (16%) were operating only partially.

Plausible independent variables associated with these outcomes were identified across cases. Approximately half of all cases (38 in 81, 47%) indicated poor cooperation by fiscal authorities as a major barrier to successful implementation outcomes. A third of all cases (26 in 81, 32%) indicated transaction costs implicit in coordinating MBI operation across bureaucratic boundaries (fiscal–environmental authorities), and between levels of government, as another barrier behind poor outcomes. Case data suggests that structural features of the political/institutional context in which environmental authorities operate condition implementation outcomes. A typology of key interactions identified point to the fiscal-environmental policy interface, and the public finance–infrastructure policy interface, as key areas where policy coordination is required for successful implementation.

Integrating MBIs into existing fiscal and sectoral policy structures (agriculture, energy, transport, water) is often difficult, and sometimes impossible under political/institutional constrains. Political leadership and governance innovation is required to overcome existing policy biases, and ensure coherent incentives biz-abiz high inertia fiscal and public finance bureaucracies. These Latin American findings are a sobering reminder that there are no easy and quick policy solutions. While increased use of MBIs remains an important element, any integrated policy response that hopes to tackle the complex environmental challenges facing this region (and emerging global ones like climate change) will have to emphasize a much broader set of public interventions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moomaw, William, Burgess, Katrina
Commitee: Helwege, Ann
School: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)
Department: Economics and International Business
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental economics, Latin American Studies, Public policy
Keywords: Caribbean, Economic instruments for environmental policy, Environmental and fiscal policy coordination, Environmental policy in Latin America and the Caribbean, Implementation outcomes, Latin America, Market based environmental policy instruments, Policy instrument implementation
Publication Number: 3422223
ISBN: 978-1-124-20926-5
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