Externalities, pigouvian corrections, and risk attitudes

  • Sandler T
  • Sterbenz F
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Abstract

We examine the influence of risk attitudes on the provision of an externality and on the proper size of Pigouvian correction when the externality is a random variable whose distribution is affected by an observable externality-generating activity. An intervening technology relates changes in this observable activity to the probability distribution of the relevant externality. Unlike the now-standard result in the theory of the firm involving the influence of risk attitudes on output levels, we cannot conclude that increases in risk aversion will lead necessarily to a reduction in the level of the externality. Our results are applied to a wide range of market failures. © 1988.

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Authors

  • Todd Sandler

  • Frederic P. Sterbenz

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