The Social Costs of Mineland Restoration

Jay Sullivan and Gregory S. Amacher


A model of mineland restoration is presented to show the wedge between mine operator and social planner decisions and social costs of current instruments. We find, first, mine operator efforts may not match socially optimal levels and consequently generate relatively high social costs, second, social costs can be reduced using a bond that targets eventual site factors and land rent generation, and, third, in general, social costs may not be eliminated fully at bond levels that still encourage the mine operator to choose forest over grassland as a postmining use. This suggests greater scope for command- and control-based regulation. (JEL Q23, Q28)

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