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Water Pollution Taxes: A Good Idea Doomed to Failure?

PFM, Vol. 3 No. 1, (2003)

Water pollution taxes, or effluent fees, have long been
advocated by environmental economists as a regulatory approach
to cost effectively achieve water quality improvements. The article
reviews the arguments in favor of taxes and traces the history of the
idea in U.S. policy debates. Particular attention is given to the
institutional challenges presented by a tax system and its
application in watershed contexts where transport phenomena are
important. The article also addresses the question of why effluent
taxes are so rarely seen in practice.

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