What is clean air worth? Is clean water good for the economy? Do parks, wetlands, beaches and coral reefs have real economic value?
These are important and timely questions to consider as politicians and policymakers debate the merits of environmental protection. Arguments for scaling back environmental regulations often include suggestions that environmental protection limits “free” market forces, increases costs to businesses, results in less economic activity and causes the economy to preform worse than it would if such regulations were absent.