Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Publication
    Valuing the environment using the life-satisfaction approach
    (University College Dublin. School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, 2006-05) ; ;
    This paper presents a comprehensive theoretical and methodological framework clarifying the relationship between non-market environmental valuation techniques, in particular hedonic and life-satisfaction methods. The paper shows how life satisfaction scores can be used to test correctly the equilibrium condition in location markets required by the hedonic approach and that in the absence of equilibrium, the life-satisfaction approach is still a theoretically valid valuation technique. Valuation using the life-satisfaction approach suffers from caveats associated with the cardinalisation of utility, however. Using data from Ireland, we apply this framework to the valuation of amenities linked to respondents’ dwelling areas using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Publication
    Accounting for transaction costs in planning policy evaluation
    The costs incurred in the design and implementation of planning policy instruments are not always considered sufficiently. In order to increase the efficacy of planning policy instruments, these transaction costs need to be taken into account. While such transaction costs are expected to vary according to their institutional design and arrangements, up to now there has been no systematic research concerned with how planners should consider transaction costs, and other institutional aspects, as evaluation criteria in planning policy analysis. This paper investigates how, and in which stages, these costs can be included in planning policy design and analysis. Using the literature of transaction costs and new institutional economics, this paper proposes a framework for integrating these costs into evaluating planning policy instruments. This framework consists of different factors that influence transaction costs in designing and implementing a planning policy instrument. Although some researchers have discussed the influence of factors concerning the characteristics of transactions and transactors, there has been limited consideration of the importance of factors related to the characteristics of a policy. This paper argues that policy characteristics, such as, simplicity, age of the policy, precision of the policy, policy approach, public involvement and participation, and policy credibility and consistency, can affect transaction costs in any policy. Therefore, the paper concludes that, in addition to transaction and transactor characteristics, a 'policy characteristics' category should be included to emphasise the importance of policy selection and design in transaction costs of a planning policy instrument.
      376Scopus© Citations 42
  • Publication
    Enabling a just transition: A composite indicator for assessing home-heating energy-poverty risk and the impact of environmental policy measures
    Home-heating energy-poverty risk presents both challenge and opportunity for policymakers, businesses and communities. Effective measurement and management of this risk requires an evidence base that accounts for characteristics of the householder, building, and heating system. A composite index utilising 10 indicators refined to Small Area level is created to deliver spatially refined analysis of home-heating energy-poverty risk. The index is used to assess home-heating energy-poverty risk across 18,641 Small Area clusters in Ireland. This risk index is a scalable and internationally transferrable methodology that can be extended to cover other energy uses. Importantly the index is also dynamic and offers the capacity to analyse changes in energy-poverty risk associated with specific policy intervention proposals, including major contemporary environmental policy transitions such as residential fabric retrofit, residential heating system changes, energy price changes and carbon taxation. The application of the index to the Irish case affords refined insight into the impact and incidence of various market, technology and policy driven interventions such as fuel price changes, retrofit strategies and carbon tax increases. Risk and impacts vary geographically, and this index is designed to inform targeted policy interventions to mitigate home heating energy-poverty risk and thereby support ambitions for a ‘just transition’.
      222Scopus© Citations 35
  • Publication
    Timing and Distributional Aspects of Transaction Costs in Transferable Development Rights Programmes
    Planners are required to evaluate planning policy instruments to develop a better understanding of how they can improve their policy design and implementation processes. Transferable Development Rights (TDR) programmes are one of the market-based policy instruments that have attracted considerable attention among planners and economists. Given that TDR programmes have been introduced as an alternative to traditional regulatory instruments in several jurisdictions on the basis that their implementation will result in better policy outcomes, evaluation of these alternative programmes is particularly important. Like all policy instruments, the activities concerned with the design and implementation of TDR programmes may involve significant transaction costs. These activities can be considered as a series of transactions from the perspective of Transaction Cost Economics (TCE). While transaction costs are expected to vary across the lifecycle of a policy instrument, up to now there have been no systematic research studies concerned with why, and how, such transaction costs occur and are distributed among parties involved in different phases of TDR programmes. So as to aid better design and implementation of TDR programmes, this paper analyses the effects of transaction costs throughout the life of four TDR programmes (Calvert, Montgomery, St. Mary's, and Charles Counties) in the US state of Maryland in order to gain a better understanding of the timing and distribution of such costs incurred by different parties involved.
      428Scopus© Citations 31
  • Publication
    A spatial econometric analysis of well-being using a geographical information systems approach
    (University College Dublin. Planning and Enviornmental Policy, 2006-07) ; ;
    In recent years, economists have being using socio-economic and socio-demographic characteristics to explain self-reported individual happiness or satisfaction with life. Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), we employ data disaggregated at the individual and local level to show that while these variables are important, consideration of amenities such as climate, environmental and urban conditions is critical when analyzing subjective wellbeing. Location-specific factors are shown to have a direct impact on life satisfaction. Most importantly, however, the explanatory power of our happiness function substantially increases when the spatial variables are included, highlighting the importance of the role of the spatial dimension in determining well-being. This may have potentially important implications for setting priorities for public policy as, in essence, improving well-being could be considered to be the ultimate goal of public policy.
  • Publication
    The perception and attitude of business to the environmental tax reform : an Irish case-study
    (Fondazione Lanza, 2003) ;
    Despite the fact that environmental taxes and Environmental Tax Reform (ETR) are accepted to be policies with desirable environmental and other economic effects, their implementation has been patchy. The most common definition of Environmental Tax Reform (ETR) is the use of the revenue from environmental taxes to reduce distortionary labour taxes. Although the EU, OECD and academic economic literature may be strongly in favour of environmental taxation as a fiscal policy, and politicians may be intellectually convinced of its merits, there have been very few research efforts devoted to understanding the roles and priorities of the public, policy-makers, businesses and other stakeholders. This paper explores the perceptions and attitudes of business to ETR and, more specifically, to energy taxation. It reviews the various policy instruments and instrument mix options to reduce carbon ant other emissions. In addition, as it is an important determinant of attitudes to ETR, the attitude of business to the environment generally is examined. The principal methodology is a case study of key businesses in Ireland. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with representatives of the firms at their place of employment. While not necessarily representative of all firms, the results show that, for the firms examined, while they all have internal energy policies, these are driven by financial rather than environmental motivations or the existing policy mix. However, some firms did experience a financial saving directly as a result of compliance with EMAS and integrated pollution control regulation. In addition, most of the environmental awareness of companies comes from compliance with EPA regulations. Raising awareness of environmental issues and problems is generally considered to be a prerequisite of changes or improvements in environmental practice and performance and willingness to accept environmental economic instruments such as taxes and charges. Perhaps surprisingly, companies were relatively more enthusiastic about energy taxes if , rather than recycling to reducing labour, the revenues were used to promote energy efficiency, subsidies for renewable energy and environmental education. However, this result is consistent with the attitudes of the general public.
  • Publication
    Quality of life and location-specific amenities : a subjective well-being approach
    (University College Dublin. Department of Planning and Environmental Policy, 2005-07) ; ;
    In recent years, economists have started using socio-economic and socio-demographic characteristics to explain self-reported individual happiness or satisfaction with life. Using data disaggregated at the individual and regional level, this paper shows that while these variables are relevant, consideration of amenities such as climate, environmental and urban conditions, typically employed in hedonic wage and housing regressions, is critical when analysing subjective well-being. Location-specific factors are shown to have a direct impact on life satisfaction, suggesting that their effect on quality of life is not fully captured by compensating differentials in housing and labour markets.
  • Publication
    Quality of life and the environment : final report
    The study examines objective indicators associated with quality of life in Ireland. As noted above, these include indicators of environmental quality, income, house prices, health, education and crime. The analysis then moves on to compare these objective indicators with subjective indicators as revealed through the use of a public survey and further qualitative analysis based on focus-group discussions. The intention, therefore, was to compare the objective measures with peoples perception of these indicators and their own subjective assessment of personal well-being. This comparison is not performed as often as it should be in discussions of quality of life. A factor analysis of subjective indices of quality of life based on public survey data and incorporating measures of income/employment, family status, domestic environment, subjective well-being and planning/infrastructure. This report has been prepared as part of the Environmental Research Technological Development and Innovation (ERTDI) Programme 2000-2006. Available At: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland
  • Publication
    Impact-based planning evaluation: Advancing normative criteria for policy analysis
    Planning decisions have considerable impacts on both natural and built environments. The impacts of these decisions may remain for many decades and many are irreversible. In order to gain a better understanding of these long-standing impacts, planners require a systematic approach to evaluate the planning policy instruments utilised. The literature on planning evaluation shows that most studies have taken a conformance-based evaluation approach, where the success of a planning policy instrument is based on the degree of conformity between the policy outcomes and its intended objectives. While evaluating such criteria is necessary, it is hardly ever sufficient largely because of unintended effects. This paper proposes an impact-based approach to planning evaluation that incorporates all the impacts, intended and otherwise, that a planning policy instrument may bring about, irrespective of the initial objectives of the policy. Using a number of economic and planning theories, this paper argues that, in addition to conformance and performance, other normative evaluation criteria, such as, efficiency, equity, social and political acceptability, and institutional arrangements, should be included to emphasize the importance of planning decisions and their substantial impacts on quality of life, social justice, and sustainability.
      1451Scopus© Citations 45
  • Publication
    ‘You Don’t Miss the Water ’til the Well Runs Dry’: Factors Influencing the Failure of Domestic Water Charges in Ireland
    (Economic & Social Studies, 2019-07-01) ;
    Access to safe drinking water and wastewater services is essential for public health, and well-being, but attitudes differ regarding how such services should be funded. In Ireland, the 2014 introduction of a domestic-sector, consumption-based, charging regime was met with public protests, leading eventually to the suspension of charges in 2016 and a subsequent recommendation by a parliamentary committee that they be abolished. Given that some form of domestic water charges exists in all EU countries, and that charges may still be required to comply with EU legislation, it is important to understand why the Irish domestic-charging policy failed. This paper presents five factors that were arguably influential in generating the opposition to such charges: whether water services are perceived as public, private or social goods; levels of public trust in government; personal values; ‘framing’ of the water charges policy; and the timing of the introduction of charges.