Environmental Policy and the Distribution of Benefits and Costs HENRY M. PESKIN
I t i s h a r d to conceive of any federal environmental policy-or, indeed, any federal policy-that does not affect various people differently. If a policy were designed in such a way that all affected parties were made better off and none worse off, then the fact that some gained more than others would probably not be of great concern to the designers of policy. At least, this is what one might surmise from the policy designer’s frequent emphasis on total benefits and costs. The fact that policies with benefitcost ratios greater than unity have the potential of making everyone better off has apparently eased the conscience of many a policy maker. In the real world, however, such potential outcomes are rarely realized. Regard less of the total of benefits and costs, the usual state of affairs is that some parties gain while others lose.