David M. Driesen

David M. Driesen is University Professor at Syracuse University College of Law. He is the author of The Economic Dynamics of Environmental Law (MIT Press, 2003), winner of the 2004 Lynton Keith Caldwell Award for best book on environmental policy, presented by the American Political Science Association.

  • Economic Thought and U.S. Climate Change Policy

    Economic Thought and U.S. Climate Change Policy

    David M. Driesen

    Experts examine how reliance on free markets contributed to the U.S. failure to address climate change and offer recommendations for new ideas to guide policy.

    The United States, once a world leader in addressing international environmental challenges, became a vigorous opponent of action on climate change over the past two decades, repudiating regulation and promoting only ineffectual voluntary actions to meet a growing global threat. Why has the United States failed so utterly to address the most pressing environmental issue of the age? This book argues that the failure arose from an unyielding ideological stance that embraced free markets and viewed government action as anathema. The most notorious result of this hands-off approach was the financial meltdown of late 2008; but strict reliance on free markets also hobbled government policymakers' response to the challenge of global warming. This book explores the relationship between free-market fundamentalism and U.S. inaction on climate change and offers recommendations for new approaches that can lead to effective climate-change policy and improve enviromental, health, and safety policies in general. After describing the evolution of U.S. climate change policy and the influence of neoliberal economic thought, the book takes up the question of what ideas might supersede the neoliberal reliance on cost-benefit analysis, overly broad market-based mechanisms, and rejection of precautionary approaches and environmental justice concerns. With a new administration in Washington, the need for a new policy framework is acute; this book supplies a timely guide to the kinds of policies that are most promising.

    • Hardcover $65.00 £55.00
    • Paperback $5.75 £4.99
  • The Economic Dynamics of Environmental Law

    The Economic Dynamics of Environmental Law

    David M. Driesen

    In this book David Driesen shows in detail how the concept of economic dynamics can reshape thinking about environmental law and policy. He argues that environmental policymaking in the United States has been poorly served by the dominant, static view of the relationship between environmental regulation and the economy, technology, and business. Basing public policy on the concept of economic efficiency, he claims, warps our sense of what is necessary and achievable in environmental lawmaking.

    According to Driesen, environmentally beneficial technological innovation would be a more effective public policy goal than economic efficiency because it could better keep pace with private-sector innovations that create new forms of pollution and resource destruction. His arguments provide a corrective to the free-market and cost-benefit analysis approaches common to most proposals for regulatory reform. Those who believe that environmental law should focus on economic efficiency assume that efficiency and innovation coincide. But static efficiency may detract from, rather than stimulate, creativity in the real world. Cost-benefit analysis may discourage innovation by adding delay and uncertainty to government decisions. Economic incentives such as emissions trading may facilitate better use of existing techniques rather than bring about fundamental changes in technology. Driesen suggests ways that the regulatory system could better foster environmentally beneficial technological innovations. Using the theory of economic dynamics, he discusses privatizing environmental law, reforming administrative and international legal processes, and improving regulation design. He also explains the significance of economic dynamics for legal theory in general.

    • Hardcover $14.75 £11.99
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00