April, 2021

Cooperation or Conflict

Two Approaches to Conservation
  • Jordan Lofthouse

    Associate Director, Academic and Student Programs
  • Megan E. Jenkins

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Jordan Lofthouse and Megan Jenkins discuss how the typical approach to public policy, particularly environmental policy, often pits individuals and groups against one another. That need not be the case, however. Regulatory policy can be developed in ways that lead to cooperation and joint achievement of collective goals rather than cutthroat political competition. Markets work well when private property rights can be well defined and protected; however, many cases, especially concerning environmental issues, can be identified wherein such rights cannot be well defined. Thus, public policy often is the next best option, but its effectiveness frequently is tarnished by the political process. Lofthouse and Jenkins’s solution is to employ “market-like regulations” that merge the best aspects of markets and public policy while limiting the worst aspects of politics. They adopt the American Prairie Reserve as a case study. The authors finish the chapter with a discussion of how existing laws and regulations can be reformed in similar manners and lead to more-cooperative outcomes.