Richard Sandor spoke at Rhodes yesterday, and his lecture raised a number of points we have talked about this semester in my econ 100 class. For readers interested in studying environmental issues further and/or pursuing law as a career, here are a few things to read:
Ronald Coase, “The Problem of Social Cost.” This is one of the most highly-cited (and important) papers ever written. It is very long and very dense (and hence not assigned), but it is a paper you should read at some point during your undergraduate career. If you’re interested in law school, it is essential.
Harold Demsetz, “Toward a Theory of Property Rights.” Demsetz builds on Coase and helps us understand when property rights come to be formally developed. Walter Block has written extensively on Coase and Demsetz; here are some cites.
Murray Rothbard, “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution.” Rothbard is critical of Coase and Demsetz, but aside from this his article is an excellent application of economics and legal theory to pollution problems.
David D. Friedman, Law’s Order. This is an excellent and accessible treatment of the economics of law. The version linked to here is a facsimile of the book available for $0 online.
In addition to these, you might find David Zetland’s research and public outreach interesting. He spoke at Rhodes in 2009; his website is here, and most of what I’ve learned about the day-to-day economics of water I’ve learned from reading his blog, aguanomics.com.