What Do We Know About Environmental Justice?

If you are not a regular reader of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, you should be. Most economists fetishize what my friend and colleague Steve Bainbridge refers to accurately as “recreational mathematics.” But often, these models add more heat than light, and in any event, function as a private language. Fortunately enough, JEP’s magician-editor Timothy Taylor is the world’s finest translator of economics into English, producing a remarkable journal of high-quality social science research that educated laypeople can understand. And for Legal Planet, that is particularly important this quarter because of an important review article in the latest issue by Spencer Banzhaf, Lala Ma, and Christopher Timmins — Environmental Justice: The Economics of Race, Place, and Pollution — concerning what we know and more importantly what we don’t know about environmental justice. In this paper, we review the environmental justice literature,…

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