Re: AltInst: Marketable Wetlands

From: Eli Brandt <>
Date: Sun May 17 1998 - 16:36:18 PDT

George L. O'Brien wrote:
> At 05:10 PM 5/14/98 -0700, you wrote:
> >George L. O'Brien replies:
> >>>>Permit wetlands owners to sell annual wetlands-support coupons,
> >>>>based upon the size of the property and its suitability as a
> >>>>nursery habitat.
> Robin Hansen stated:
> >In order to decide how much of a discount a shrimper gets on their
> >fishing license, you have to assign a value to the coupons for each
> >wetlands. This requires exactly the same level of central planning,
> >beureacracy, potential for gaming, and budgetary conflict. As you've
> >described them, coupons are just different way to move the money around,
> >not a different way to decide what is worth how much.
> >

> My reading of this was that the owner of the property sells the coupons
> rather than a central government planning agency. Are we discussing the
> same thing?

But look at who _buys_ them. Some environmentalists will buy these
wetlands coupons and frame them, but I'd bet not many. To a first
approximation, the coupons' value is given by the government, as
license-fee discounts or whatever.

Assume that each coupon is ultimately redeemed for $100. Then a swamp
meriting 10 coupons (a government decision) gets the owner $1000
dollars minus transaction costs. It's not in cash, but this scrip is
government-backed, so it might as well be. (Imagine if owners got
subway tokens....)

What's the difference from cash subsidies? Well, if you had a policy
bias for shrimpers over sword boats, you could -- if you insisted --
conflate this with your environmental policy by tweaking redemption
values. And there's some seignorage to be had.

     Eli Brandt  |  |
[To drop AltInst, tell:  to: unsubscribe altinst]
Received on Sun May 17 16:49:24 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:49:12 PST