Economic Implications of Hormesis: Some Additional Thoughts

Document Type



Economics (CMC)

Publication Date



Hammitt has prepared an excellent summary of the implications of hormesis for the application of economic principles to environmental decision making. His primary focus is on how uncertainty about the exposure-response function(s) affects the efficiency properties of policy instruments. These functions can describe direct human health effects or they might involve impacts on plants or animals that people care about. Because we generally agree with his analysis and conclusions, our comments will focus on additional issues that either follow from his paper or were not completely developed. Our discussion begins by suggesting additional policy insights might be added to Hammitt's description of the problems posed by hormesis by considering cases where similar phenomenon arise elsewhere in environmental economics. It also comments on the difficulties hormesis poses for benefit measurement and closes with an alternative rationale for applying the efficiency principles Hammitt discusses.

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© 2004 SAGE