U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s book Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation examines government’s role in controlling and managing the health risks society faces from exposure to environmental pollution. One major problem examined in the book is the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. Justice Breyer was extremely critical of policymakers who wish to see waste sites 100 percent clean.
a. Explain, using the theory of optimization and a graph, the circumstances under which a waste site could be made “too clean.” (Good answers are dispassionate and employ economic analysis.)
b. Justice Breyer believes that society can enjoy virtually all the health benefits of cleaning up a waste site for only a “small fraction” of the total cost of completely cleaning a site. Using graphical analysis, illustrate this situation.

  • CreatedNovember 18, 2014
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