Economics of Pollution Management

Ecosystems and humans are exposed to multiple types of pollution, for example to contaminants in water, soil, air and sediment, which can be very costly to society. Moreover, some forms of pollution, e.g. radioactive waste, macro-and micro-plastics, or persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, can have long-term and even irreversible impacts on the environment and humans.

The key role of economics in this research domain is (i) to transform available information – and the absence of information – about pollution risks into values for decision-making, (ii) to develop tools for an assessment of the impacts and the damages of pollution, (iii) to identify appropriate risk management and governance strategies (e.g. for particularly harmful chemicals), and (iv) to unravel the behavioural drivers and institutional mechanisms which may facilitate or prevent actions towards pollution mitigation and abatement. To address the economics of pollution management we use theoretical and empirical modelling approaches (e.g. decision-theory, behavioural experiments, cost benefit analysis, Value-of-Information analysis), and strive for cross-disciplinary integration of tools from natural sciences and economics.


Key publications

  • Gabbert, S. and I. Hilber, 2016. Time matters: A stock-pollution approach to authorisation decision-making for PBT/vPvB chemicals under REACH. Journal of Environmental Management 183:236-244
  • Ilg, P., S. Gabbert and H.P. Weikard, 2016. Nuclear Waste Management under Approaching Disaster: A Comparison of Decommissioning Strategies for the German Repository Asse II. Risk Analysis (Advance Online Publication)