Failure of Economic Incentives Discussion Paper

Examines economic incentives and their failure to encourage sustainable community development

CRC Discussion Paper Series, Number 4Economic Incentives and Sustainable Community Development

Jim Hamilton The Failure of Economic Incentives to Encourage Sustainable Community Development

Some promote the use of economic incentives as a major public policy instrument, if not the only instrument, to encourage consumer and industrial behaviour conducive to sustainable community development. This paper questions the validity of such a position, and suggests, rather, that economic incentives without concomitant regulatory change and long-term planning and objective-setting may be too weak as a public policy instrument to achieve substantive changes in behaviours to support sustainable communities.

"Incentives, if they are to work, must be meaningful within the overall context of consumer budgets and/or industrial capital plans, otherwise they are nothing more than just a give-away.”