Thursday, November 15, 2012

From Exxon to BP: Has Some Number Become Better than No Number?

New JEP article: On March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and released over 250,000 barrels of crude oil, resulting in 1300 miles of oiled shoreline, the deaths of 250,000 birds, 2800 otters, over 250 seals, and destruction of nearly uncountable salmon and herring eggs (for details, see This event and its aftermath, graphically illustrated to television viewers around the world, ignited debate about the environmental risks of oil usage, the adequacy of regulatory oversight, and the appropriate compensation for damages suffered. The Exxon spill also ignited a debate within the economics profession concerning the adequacy of methods to value public goods, particularly when the good in question has limited direct use, such as the pristine natural environment  of the spill region...

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