This paper calls for a reevaluation of the pollution problem in order to devise efficient strategies for its control. It contends that a fundamental cause of pollution is inefficiency in input-use during the production process. This inefficiency manifests itself as input-waste and polluting residues. Precision technologies can increase the effectiveness of inputs used in production and reduce pollution generation. Despite their potential economic and ecological benefits, adoption of precision technologies has been slow. This paper presents a conceptual framework to identify and analyze the specific factors that affect their diffusion among microunits. These include various heterogeneous characteristics of microunits, prices which do not reflect the relevant scarcities due to distortionary regulatory policies and lack of institutional mechanisms for efficient allocation of inputs and outputs. It rationalizes the observed variations in the appropriate choice of technology across microunits and argues for the need to broaden the range of incentive-based instruments for environmental protection beyond pollution taxes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-43
Number of pages19
JournalEcological Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Environmental policy
  • Heterogeneity
  • Policy distortions
  • Precision
  • Technology adoption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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