Nutrient Pollution: A Wicked Challenge for Economic Instruments

James Shortle, Richard D. Horan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Nutrient pollution is one of the most important problems facing aquatic systems globally. The problem qualifies as a wicked one, involving multiple pollutants from multiple sources interacting in complex ways over space and time along multiple pathways, with uncertainty present at each stage of the process-from pollutant generation to the final ecological and economic impacts. We draw on a diverse interdisciplinary literature to identify challenges for implementing efficient solutions using economic instruments, but also describe why economic research and concern for economic efficiency are of crucial importance to the selection of instruments to address the problem, and propose a general equilibrium economic geography paradigm for research on instrument design and choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1650033
JournalWater Economics and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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