Dictionary of Arguments

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Mause I 402f
Environmental Damage/Economic Theory: Environmental damage is often the result of the economic use of natural resources. They are caused by production and consumption as well as the absorption of pollutants within the existing environmental media (air, water, soil). These forms of use can also be described as functions of the natural environment (production, consumption, landfill function).
On the other hand, increasing land use for settlement, transport and production purposes is contributing to environmental damage because natural ecosystems are being reduced, biodiversity is declining, the landscape is being affected and the soil is increasingly sealed (Cansier 1993, p. 3 (1); Hartwig 1992, p. 126ff (2)).
Environmental Policy/Federal Republic of Germany: The environmental policy pursued in Germany for more than 40 years (see for an overview Böcher und Töller 2012, p. 6ff. (3)) has contributed to a significant improvement in Germany's environmental quality status, particularly in the recent past, according to the latest OECD environmental assessment report (2012) (4). For example, Germany's total greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane, etc.) in 2010 were 24 % below 1990 levels, although Germany is one of the few OECD countries to have completely decoupled greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth in the 2000s, not least due to a reduction in the energy intensity of industrial production.
Externality: The need for government action in the field of environmental policy can be justified from an economic point of view by the concept of external effects in addition to the public good properties of the elimination of environmental damage (Feess und Seeliger 2013, p. 39ff.(5); Endres 2000, p. 18ff.(6)).
Environmental damage and improvements can then be understood as a consequence of negative or positive side effects of production or consumption. Like public goods, these effects are not covered by the market price mechanism.
Problem: If the state does not ensure the "internalisation of external effects" within the framework of its environmental policy, i.e. for the charging of external costs or a renumeration of the external benefits from the polluter, this leads to a misallocation in the provision of private goods, which is accompanied by an overuse of environmental resources or too little improvement in environmental quality (7).


1. Cansier, Dieter. 1993. Umweltökonomie. Stuttgart/ Jena:
2. Hartwig, Karl-Hans, Umweltökonomie. In Vahlens Kompendium der Wirtschaftstheorie und Wirtschaftspolitik, ed. Dieter Bender, Hartmut Berg, Dieter Cassel, Günter Gabisch, Karl-Hans Hartwig, Lothar Hübl, Dietmar Kath, Rolf Peffekoven, Jürgen Siebke, H. Jörg Thieme und Manfred Willms, Vol. 2, 5. ed., 122– 162. München 1992
3. Böcher, Michael, und Annette E. Töller, Umweltpolitik in Deutschland. Eine politikfeldanalytische Einführung. Wiesbaden 2012.
4. OECD. 2012. OECD-Umweltprüfberichte. Deutschland 2012. Paris: OECD Publishing.
5. Feess, Eberhard, und Andreas Seeliger, Umweltökonomie und Umweltpolitik, 4. ed. München 2013
6. Endres, Alfred, Umweltökonomie, 3. ed. Stuttgart: 2000.
7. Ibid. p. 19


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Economic Theories
Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-05-20
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