21 Dec 2008

The Guys At Env-Econ Smell A Green Jobs Rat

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I’m glad to report that the two (fairly clever) guys over at Environmental Economics have been questioning the green jobs/fiscal stimulus orthodoxy. Now to be clear, they actually agree that there is a huge market failure and that the government should take steps to make greenhouse gas emitters “internalize the externalities.” But the point is, the textbook way* you deal with that is you slap a carbon tax on, then sit back and let the market process work. You don’t need Barney Frank doling out another trillion dollars on wind turbines and solar panels.

Anyway, try these posts–one, two, and three–to see John and Tim’s thoughts. Then here’s Mark Thoma giving the “scarcity disappeared in December 2007” counterresponse.

* I disagree strongly with this standard textbook approach, of course. But my point is, this new “consensus” about saving the planet and economy simultaneously doesn’t even make sense to serious economists who think the government needs to raise the price of carbon emissions.

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