Governments are in the business of promoting desirable economic and social outcomes and undertaking this business sometimes involves financial aid or subsidies. Subsidies should, of course, be well-designed, such that their benefits exceed their costs. Many are not. Yet even when they are, problems arise: there are, inevitably, both winners and losers when governments decide which outcomes should be supported and to what extent. Moreover, the tension between short-term economic and political goals and environmental harm plagues this policy field. Karen Hussey's review essay on Paying the Polluter in the Australian Review of Public Affairs (86) provides a revealing insight into government support and what we value.
Dr Karen Hussey is an Associate Professor and Public Policy Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, at the Australian National University, where she undertakes research on policies, institutions and governance arrangements relating to sustainable development.
Title: Paying the Polluter: Environmentally Harmful Subsidies and their Reform
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
Date Published: 2014
Authors: Frans H. Oosterhuis and Patrick ten Brink (eds)
Image: book cover