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Siting Environmentally Unwanted Facilities
Risks, Trade-Offs and Choices
The siting of locally obnoxious but nationally relevant and necessary facilities such as sewage treatment plants, landfills, dams and nuclear power stations is an important issue in public policy planning. In view of the negative externalities such as declining property prices, health threats, and air, water and noise pollution imposed on the local communities that house them, the location of these facilities generates a consensus among the general public aptly termed 'not-in-my-backyard' or NIMBY syndrome. Drawing on the experiences of North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia, this book offers a comprehensive review of existing conflict-resolution instruments used in the siting of these facilities. The authors highlight in particular legal and command instruments such as zoning and compulsory acquisition of land, and economic incentives such as compensation and mitigation. Using elements from areas such as game theory and risk analysis and the use of compensation auction mechanisms, the authors present a series of decision steps to provide a credible alternative methodology designed to minimise such conflicts.
This innovative study will be welcomed by all those with an interest in environmental and public policy planning.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Although innumerable books and articles have been written on the various techniques that bear on solutions to the complex of problems involved, this book, written by an acknowledged specialist in the field, is the first really comprehensive treatment of all existing methodologies and techniques currently in use or proposed. Thoroughly up-to-date, eminently readable, and rich in actual examples, Quah and Tan's book is essential reading for students and profitable reading for all economists interested in resource allocation and project evaluation. Assuredly it will become the standard work in this fascinating and challenging field for years to come.' -- Ezra J. Mishan, London School of Economics, UK 'The problem of siting useful but unwanted facilities is a source of conflict and frustration that seems destined to grow in countries in all stages of development all over the world. Quah and Tan detail both the nature of the conflicts and the advantages and shortcomings of the many proposals of instruments to resolve them. However, drawing on recent findings and methods from game theory, risk analysis, and experimental economics, they go beyond this useful review and provide new alternative strategies that offer promise of easier resolutions. Local residents, as well as public officials, should benefit from their efforts.' -- Jack L. Knetsch, Simon Fraser University, Canada 'Getting the right balance between benefits and costs of environmentally sensitive projects is rarely straightforward. This book provides an economic approach to resolving the location choice for projects that no one wants as a neighbour - the so called NIMBY syndrome. By offering policymakers an approach that is evidence-based, transparent and accountable, the authors have made an important contribution to the development of more informed policy formulation and decision making in developed and developing countries.' -- Colin Kirkpatrick, University of Manchester, UK 'It is a delight to have a book on a very important practical topic by an economist and a statistician who are well accomplished and co-operated with remarkable success before. The proposal of using a combination of compensation auctions and regulatory instruments to tackle the tricky not-in-my-backyard problem makes particular sense.' -- Yew-Kwang Ng, Monash University, Australia 'There are very few economic studies that systematically analyze the core problem in most environmental conflicts among neighbouring communities - the so-called not-in-my-backyard problem. This primer offers a superb analysis on such issue. The authors undertake an insightful state-of-the-art survey on methods of coping with such environmental conflicts. This book will prove to be of practical value to researchers and practitioners, especially those from the developing economies where environmental conflicts among regional communities will soon come to the fore as their standard of living rapidly improves. This book is a must for all the "green" readers.' -- Kenneth S. Chan, McMaster University, Canada 'This is clearly a very timely and needed book since funding for research activities and, consequently, publications on the NIMBY syndrome have become dwindled in the 1990s as it became clear that the NIMBY problem has become almost irresolvable in Europe and North America. At the same time Asian countries except Japan have started to encounter the inevitable NIMBY syndrome because of their rapid economic growth. The research into Asian experience may be able to provide solutions to the problem. This book is the result of two prominent Asian scholars' long time research into this difficult and important problem. By exploring the experiences and theoretical basis of economic instruments in general and compensation auction in particular for resolving NIMBY problems, this book features Asian experience since compensations and other economic instruments are usually rejected in European and North American NIMBY cases.' -- Daigee Shaw, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, R.O.C. 'The problem is persistent, and the authors have gone a long way to analyse this very important environmental and development trade-off which most countries faced but increasingly more so for the Asian region. The book is comprehensive in its research into the literature on the NIMBY phenomena, and the book addresses this problem by encouraging compensation auction mechanisms complemented by a multi-criteria approach to its resolution. I strongly recommend the book for those concerned with public policy planning, environmental management, and for relevant university courses on the subject.' -- Teruzo Muraoka, Nagoya University, Japan 'This is the first systematic treatment of the NIMBY siting problem. It is a thorough and rigorous economic treatment. Using the compensation action method Quah and Tan explore a range of applications and found solutions. The result is an important contribution to the policy literature and a key source for economists and planners.' -- R.J. Bennett, University of Cambridge, UK 'Economic analysis has a key role to play in resolving issues entailed in the siting of environmentally unfriendly facilities. This book draws together discussion of these themes and presents the economic issues for students of environmental economics and for readers with a serious interest in the evaluation of the NIMBY phenomenon. It deserves a wide audience.' -- Peter Smith, University of Southampton, UK 'Analysing NIMBY facility siting problems comprehensively, this book presents rational answers that almost all communities manage to find. We need to reconcile the social benefits of the facility with the costs to the surrounding people and to the environment. The book gives us indispensable perspectives on the 21st century solution.' -- Yuzo Ishikawa, The International University of Kagoshima, Japan 'An imaginative and insightful assessment of the practical potential for efficiency and fairly resolving the NIMBY scourge of settling the siting of environmentally disruptive plants, dams and the like in local communities... finally, a persuasive argument for using compensation auction mechanisms to help settle the often overwhelming contentious issue of facility siting... a valuable addition to the conflict-resolution literature that addresses local residents' perception of NIMBY calculations - without which, equitable solutions will never be realised.' -- William A.W. Neilson, University of Victoria, Canada